CONFIRMED: Nigeria’s total national debt stock is N16.3trn – The Cable

Udo-Udoma

Udoma Udo Udoma, minister of budget and national planning, says the total national debt stock (both the federal government and the states) stands at N16.3 trillion — as at June 30, 2016.

In a statement issued on Tuesday by Akpandem James, his media adviser, Udoma gave the breakdown as foreign liabilities of N3.2 trillion and domestic liabilities of N13.1 trillion.

He had drawn public controversy on Monday when he fumbled for words at the Nigerian Economic Summit after he was asked to state the value of Nigeria’s total debt.

But defending himself on Tuesday, Udoma said he assumed that the question was about contractors’ liabilities.

“It has become necessary to correct a misconception carried in the media regarding the minister’s response to the country’s debt status at the ongoing Nigeria Economic Summit in Abuja,” read the statement.

“The minister, who was one of the panelists on the ‘Policy dialogue on the Nigerian Economy’ discussion, which focused at the time of the question on the domestic economy, had given a response in line with the thread of discussion in the belief that the reference to debts was in regard to contractor liabilities.

“The discussion centred on ease of doing business in Nigeria, the relationship between private sector organizations and government and plans by government to help grow local businesses in line with the theme of the Summit, which is ;Made-in-Nigeria’.

“Answering a follow-up question by one of the anchors of the discussion, Zain Asher Ejiofor of CNN, which followed the thread of the discussion on recent capital releases for infrastructure project, the minister, who naturally assumed that she was referring to contractors’ liabilities, said the exact figures cannot be made available at that moment since, given its multi-sectoral nature, it has to be authenticated by the appropriate agencies of government before one can say what the exact figure is.

“The minister did not think that the question related to the overall debt position of the country, which includes external borrowings and other liabilities. So the issue of the Minister not answering a question on the overall debt stock of the country does not arise.

“For the information of the public, the total national debt stock (both the Federal Government and the States) stood at N16.3 trillion as at June 30, this year. This is made of foreign liabilities of N3.2 trillion and domestic liabilities of N13.1 trillion.”

The statement added that before the end of the year, the federal government would release a comprehensive document setting out in one publication all the various sector plans that have already been adopted by the government.

“This will make it easier for the general public to easily access government’s overall economic agenda,” Udoma added.

“The document will consolidate and harmonizse all the sectoral plans in a single document and set out in broad detail an integrated roadmap for the growth and sustainability of the country’s economy.”

Earlier in the year, the federal government released the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP), highlighting the strategies adopt to stimulate the economy, create jobs for the teeming youths and extend support to the very poor and vulnerable segments of the society, while at the same time laying the foundations for sustainable growth.