The Debt Management Office has said out of Nigeria’s total debt profile of N25.7tn as of June 2019, external borrowing accounts for about 32 per cent while the 68 per cent is domestic. It also said the federal government is responsible for 80 per cent of the debts.
Oniha said DMO serves as an advisory body to the Federal Government on debt management and to put the debts at 25 per cent ratio to the Gross Domestic Products.
She stated that the office does not receive borrowed funds, noting that they are paid directly to the Central Bank of Nigeria which ensures that the money is used for what it is borrowed for.
Oniha said, “As of June 2019, our debt profile was N25.7tn; this includes the federal and state governments and the Federal Capital Territory. We call it the total public debt. Out of this total, the Federal Government is responsible for 80 per cent of the debt.”
She explained that the DMO began operations in 2000 due to Nigeria’s debt management problems, which made the country to seek debt relief.
She added that the agency is responsible for the management of public debts, while its mandate includes contracting debts on behalf of the Federal Government.
According to Oniha, the responsibilities are stated in the Fiscal Responsibility Act and the DMO Act.
She said, “If you look back several years, over 85 per cent of budget deficits are funded by borrowing, which the DMO undertakes as approved by the Federal Executive Council and the National Assembly.
“We borrow from various sources: the multilateral, the World Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, the African Development Bank, the China-EXIM and we also issue products in the international market. Locally, we are also very active in domestic borrowing; we issue treasury bills and Federal Government treasury bonds.”
Wole Oke, chairman of the committee, stated the importance of the parliament having all the relevant information documented. He said the House needed additional facts and figures, following the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed’s revelations during the 2020 budget defence that revenue generation was a challenge for the country.
Oke noted that the committee was determined to monitor the ministries, departments, and agencies to prevent abuse of the law in the area of revenue generation and remittances. He pointed out that even when the MDAs have the powers to spend from the revenue they generate, the lawmakers were determined to ensure transparency and accountability.