by Lekan Olanrewaju
Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has spoken on Nigeria’s debt, stating that the country is “doing very well” with its N6trillion debt profile.
She however warned that the domestic debt would have to be monitored closely.
Speaking at the ministerial press briefing marking President Jonathan’s one year in office in Abuja, Okonjo-Iweala also noted that the public debt at 17 percent of GDP ratio was still far below the 30 percent target set by the Federal Government.
Nigeria’s external debt stock is $5.6 billion according to the Debt Management Office, with the domestic debt stock is put at N5.96 trillion.
“We should not be complacent” she said. “We want to watch our domestic debt.
“Within that category our foreign borrowing is only about 2 percent, so we are doing very well in terms of keeping our foreign debts very low.”
“But on the domestic side, we have been experiencing a relatively significant increase, that is where we want to watch so we don’t have a borrowing that is too much of what we can sustain.” she said, pointing out that domestic borrowing had declined from N852.27 billion in 2011 to N744.44 billion in the 2012 budget.
She also spoke on the ongoing fuel subsidy probe, stating that those indicted must be brought to book with “no impunity.”
“At the beginning we talked about smuggling of fuel from Nigeria borders which is all part of the problems.” she said. “The House of Representatives report has not gotten to us and when we finally get it, we will act on it.