By Nkiruka Nnorom
LAGOS— The Debt Management Office, DMO, yesterday, said Nigeria’s total outstanding public debt rose to N17.360 trillion as at end of December 2016, an increase of 37.74 per cent, compared to N12.604 trillion in the corresponding year in 2015.
In dollar terms, this is a decrease of US$8.037 billion, or 12 per cent reduction, over the same period.
DMO said in its 2016 Annual Report and Accounts released, yesterday, that the incongruence in the total public debt stock between the two currencies reflects the difference in the exchange rates for the periods.
The report showed that external debt accounted for N3.479 trillion or 20.04 per cent of the total debt stock, while the domestic debt accounted for N13.881 trillion, representing 79.96 percent of the total debt stock.
The domestic debt stock comprised FGN’s debt of N11.058 trillion and the domestic debt of the 36 states and the FCT’s portion of N2.823 trillion as at end September, 2016.
Although the level of debt stock is still appreciably low relative to the country’s aggregate output, the debt portfolio remains mostly vulnerable to the various shocks associated with revenue, exports and substantial currency devaluation.
As at end December 2016, the ratio of total public debt-to-GDP was 16.27 percent compared to 13.02 percent in 2015. This, according the debt office, was still within the country’s specific limit of 19.39 percent and far below the peer group standard threshold of 56.00 percent.
Meanwhile, DMO appropriated N563.9 million in 2016 to fund its operations. The sum represents 0.5 per cent reduction from N566.7 million that was originally released to the Agency for its operation by the Federal Government.
The amount also indicates further reduction from N607.7 million approved and a decrease of N64.50 million or 9.60 per cent relative to the amount appropriated for the Agency in 2015.
N563.9 million, representing 99.51 per cent of the total released budget was spent on personnel, overhead and capital expenditures, while the total balance of N2.8 million was returned to the Sub-Treasurer of the Federation at the end of the year.
Personnel emolument got the highest sum of N402.6 million or 71.04 per cent of the money released to the office in 2016. Out of this, N401.2 million was used for the payment of staff salaries and allowances, as well as the settlement of social contributions for Pension and National Health Insurance Scheme, while unutilized balance of N1.4 million was returned to the Sub-Treasurer of the Federation (STF) at the end of the year.
The report further showed that capital budget came second with total budget of of N87.3 million, representing 15.4 per cent of the total allocation to the Agency during the year.
Out of this amount, the sum of N85.9 million was utilized for funding two of the three projects earmarked in the 2016 Capital budget, while the balance of N1.4 million was returned to the Sub-Treasury as it was insufficient to finance any other capital project for the year.
The overhead budget got N76.8 million, representing 13.6 per cent of the total allocation for the year. The overhead budget was fully utilised to fund the agency’s operations.