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Nigeria’s foreign debt declines by 2%

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…Domestic debt inches up

By Elizabeth Adegbesan

Nigeria’s external debt declined marginally by 2.02 percent to $21.6 billion in the third quarter of 2018, Q3’18, from $22.1 billion recorded in the second quarter 2018, Q2’18, almost cancelling out the 1.2 percent rise in domestic debt recorded during the quarter, Q3’18.

Consequently, the nation’s total debt stock which stood at $73.2 billion, or N22.4 trillion, recorded almost no change as at end September.

The decrease in the external component was ascribed to the redemption of a $500 million Eurobond which matured on July 12, 2018.

The Debt Management Office (DMO) disclosed this recently in a statement released on its website.

The DMO stated that the domestic debt of the federal government, states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) grew by 1.2 percent or N185 billion to N15.8 trillion in September 2018 from N15.6 trillion in June 2018.

The increase, it noted, was due to the FGN N135 billion, and states and FCT N50 billion.

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The DMO however said that this upward and downward trend in the external and domestic debt stock is expected to be reversed in the fourth quarter of 2018 (Q4’18).

It stated: “Nigeria’s total public debt stock comprising the external and domestic debts of the FGN, the 36 states and the FCT stood at $73.2 billion or N22.4 trillion. These were about the same as the figures of $73.2 billion and N22.4 trillion recorded in June 2018.

“External debt declined by 2.02 percent to $21.6 billion due, largely, to the redemption by Nigeria of a $500 million Eurobond which matured on July 12, 2018. The Eurobond which was issued for a tenor of five years in 2013, was the first Eurobond maturity for Nigeria and Nigeria’s ability to repay it seamlessly, boosted Nigeria’s position as a good credit in the International Capital Market.

“The domestic debt of the FGN, States and the FCT grew by 1.2 percent from N15.6 trillion in June 2018 to N15.8 trillion in September 2018. This increase of N185 Billion was attributed to the FGN (N135 billion) and States and FCT (N50 billion).

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“The combination of an increase in the level of domestic debt and decrease in the external debt stock, resulted in a slight shift in the portfolio composition. “As at September 30, 2018, the share of domestic debt was 70.5 percent compared to 69.83 percent in June 2018.

This trend is expected to be reversed in Q4’18 as the new external borrowing of N849 billion (about $2.8 Billion) provided in the 2018 Appropriation Act is expected to be raised within the quarter”.

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