federal government would be borrowing the sum of N1.884trillion to finance this year’s budget, even as it has tasked media practitioners in the country on debt management reporting, calling for all to key into the federal government’s debt management policy.
Speaking at a one-day workshop on Debt Sustainability and the Challenge of Financing Economic Recovery organised by the Debt Management Office, DMO, for the NUJ in Abuja at the weekend, the agency’s director general, Dr. Abraham Nwankwo said the challenge of infrastructural development and economic recovery were enormous, therefore the imperative of the federal government to seek for alternative funding of which debt sourcing was an integral part.
The DMO boss observed that the NUJ and the media as a whole had a critical role to play in informing Nigerians of the importance of debt financing in economic development, especially with declining oil and gas revenue being faced by the country and around the globe.
Nwankwo informed participants at the workshop that Nigeria’s debt-to-GDP ratio as at December 2015 was at 13.02 percent, which he said was far below the peer group ratio of 56 percent.
According to him, the federal government would be borrowing N900billion and N984billion from the external and domestic markets, respectively, to finance the 2016 budget.
Explaining further, Nwankwo said the logic of the mix, external and domestic borrowings, was “to rebalance total public stock in favour of less costly external funds,” while stressing that “the utilisation of the borrowing proceeds are entirely on capital projects to support the growth of productive capacity.”
He noted that to address the huge infrastructural deficit in the country, speedily and effectively, the funding implications for Nigeria wqs about $25billion per annum over the next five to seven years.
The worry in the funding of such huge infrastructural challenge, the DMO boss said, lies in private sector equity and debt, which he explained is uncertain as well as public sector revenue and debt which has been adversely affected by declining oil revenue.
To address the imbalance therefore, “the imperative is to depend on well structured, substantial, affordable, long-term external debt financing to fund the desired long-term economic change,” he stated.
Nwankwo called on the leadership of the NUJ to weigh in on the workshop and engage their members to present the desirability of public debt financing to Nigerians.
In his speech, president of the NUJ, Mr. Waheed Odusile commended the DMO for the workshop which he described as timely and educating, and urged the office to expand its enlightenment to other critical stakeholders.
Odusile promised that the union would continue to engage with the DMO in order to help pass on the appropriate information on the activities of the office and the importance of debt financing for the country’s development needs.

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