The Debt Management Office (DMO) says Nigeria’s total public debt hit N46.25 trillion at the end of the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2022.
The country’s public debt consists of domestic and external debt stocks of the federal government of Nigeria (FGN) and the subnational governments — the 36 states and the federal capital territory (FCT).
The DMO, in a statement on Thursday, said the comparative debt stock for December 31, 2021, was N39.56 trillion — representing an increase of N6.69 trillion when compared with the latest figure.
The 2022 data is also an increase of about N2 trillion compared to the N44.6 trillion recorded in the third quarter of the same year.
DMO said the debt rise was due to borrowings for the purpose of projects execution and financing of the budget deficit.
The agency added that the issuance of promissory notes to settle liabilities also contributed to the growth of the domestic debt.
“In terms of composition, total domestic debt stock stood at N27.55 trillion, while total external debt stock was N18.70 trillion,” the debt office said.
“Among the reasons for the increase in total public debt stock were new borrowings by the federal government and sub-national governments, primarily to finance budget deficits and execute projects.
“The issuance of promissory notes by the federal government to settle some liabilities also contributed to growth in the debt stock.”
The agency, however, said ongoing efforts by the federal government to increase revenue from oil and non-oil sources through initiatives like the finance act and the strategic revenue mobilisation initiative are expected to support debt sustainability.
DMO said the total debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio for December 31, 2022, was 23.20 percent; a slight increase from the figure of December 31, 2021, which was at 22.47 percent.
“The ratio of 23.20 percent is within the 40 percent limit self-imposed by Nigeria and the 55 percent limit recommended by the World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF),” the organisation added.
“It is also within the 70 percent limit recommended by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).”
Last year, Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget and national planning, had said the federal government would finance the 2023 budget deficit by borrowing more.