FG’s foreign debt is $27.6bn not $76bn, DMO replies Falana

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The Debt Management Office (DMO) says Nigeria’s outstanding external debt is $27.6 billion.

In a freedom of information (FoI) request dated August 3, 2020, Falana & Falana Chambers, the law firm of Femi Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), had asked the DMO to provide information on “external loan of $76 billion”.

“We have confirmed from the statement issued by your office on or about June 20, 2020 that as at March 31, 2020 Nigeria had taken loans worth $79.3 billion from foreign countries and institutions,” the FoI read.

“It was also disclosed that the said Chinese loan represents only about 3.94% of Nigeria’s total public debt of $79,303 as at March 31, 2020.

“In view of the details of the Chinese loans of $3.1 billion which have been made available to members of the public in the said statement, we hereby request for information on the remaining foreign loans totalling $76 billion and other loans that have recently been incurred by the federal government.”

In its response dated August 12, DMO explained that $27.6 billion is what Nigeria currently owes externally. The foreign creditors include the World Bank, Africa Development Bank and the Exim Bank of China.

Below is the breakdown of the debt:

Multilateral

World Bank Group

International Development Association 9,689.39

International Bank for Reconstruction and Development 409.51

Africa Development Bank Group

Africa Development Bank 1,348.27

Africa Growing Together Fund 0.10

Africa Development Fund 924.90

Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa 5.88

European Development Fund 52.87

Islamic Development Fund 26.96

International Fund for Agricultural Development- 197.85

Subtotal 12,655.72

Bilateral

Exim Bank of China- 3,121.29

French Development Agency 408.32

Japan International Cooperation Agency 76.15

Exim Bank of India 33.84

Germany (KFW) 201.98

Subtotal 3,841.59

Commercial

Eurobonds 10,868.35

Diaspora bond 300.00

Subtotal 11,168.35

Grand total 27,665.66

In a statement issued on June 18, 2020, the office had also explained that the country’s total public debt as of March 2020 stood at $79.3 billion, while external debt was $27.6 billion.

“As at March 31, 2020, the Total Borrowing by Nigeria from China was USD3.121 billion (N1,126.68 billion at USD/N361). This amount represents only 3.94% of Nigeria’s Total Public Debt of USD79.303 billion (N28,628.49 billion at USD/N361) as at March 31, 2020. Similarly, in terms of external sources of funds, Loans from China accounted for 11.28% of the External Debt Stock of USD27.67 billion at the same date,” the statement read.

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