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Public pressures force FG to more disclosures on indebtedness

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By Emeka Anaeto and Babajide Komolafe

In response to the growing demand for transparency in government borrowings, the Finance Minister, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, has said the federal government will soon disclose details of loans obtained from China to fund infrastructural projects.

Zainab Ahmed

Speaking at a panel session which focused on ‘Decoding Debt; Getting Transparency Right’, at the on-going World Bank/ International Monetary Fund, IMF, Annual Meetings in Washington DC, USA, Ahmed said the move is part of the federal government’s plans to release information on project-specific loans.

She also said it would tie with the government’s measures to release transparent debt database detailing all its existing debts.

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Ahmed stated: “Where we want to go next is to make sure we scan the environment and make sure we have a database of all the debts that government owe. Whether it is the sovereign or the sub-national, and also the debt of the state-owned enterprises and debts we owe to creditors.

“Also, we want to be able to show more clearly the debts that are related to specific projects and debts that we owe to countries like China for major projects. Right now, they are reported as public debt but there is no detailed breakdown to show that they are related as project borrowing.

“You won’t see how the debt reports related to projects we have taken from sources like the China Exim Bank and we want to also put that in the public domain.

‘‘There is an increasing demand from the civil society and the public in Nigeria of that level of detailing.”


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