Ministry of Finance yesterday stated that the country’s external debt has now hit $10.31 billion.
This comprises of debts owed by the Federal Government; the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
This was disclosed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Anastasia Daniel-Nwaobia, at a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives on the “Non-Implementation of Capital Projects in 2015 Budget.’’
Daniel-Nwaobia also revealed that the domestic debts for the Federal Government, as at June 30, 2015, stands at N8.396 trillion.
Represented by the Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Mr Aliyu Yahaya Gusau, Daniel-Nwaobia explained that Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account, ECA had also depleted to about $4 billion by the end of 2014 and $2.08 billion as at June 2015.
The Permanent Secretary, however, blamed the Federal Account Allocation Committee, FAAC distribution, drop in oil revenue and payment of petroleum subsidies for the depletion of the ECA.
She further revealed that the Federal Government had borrowed a total of N882.122 billion to finance the N4.4 trillion 2015 budget.
Daniel-Nwaobia clarified that the sum comprises N505.122 billion in domestic borrowings and N380 billion in external borrowings, adding that they had been disbursed to the country’s Consolidated Revenue Fund Account, CRF.
The Permanent Secretary told the ad hoc committee that the N380 billion appropriated for external borrowing had been funded through the domestic bond market.
She pointed out that the borrowings followed the drastic decline in the country’s revenue gap due to fall in oil prices.
Daniel-Nwobia noted that despite the ongoing cash crunch, the ministry had continued to evolve fiscal policies to grow the economy.
On the revenue performance, Daniel-Nwaobia stressed that out of N3.45 trillion that was appropriated, only N1.74 trillion had been realised as at September.
On expenditure performance, she hinted that, out of N1.83 trillion budgeted for personnel cost in the recurrent budget, N944.76 billion had so far been released as at the second quarter of 2015 and N1.24 trillion as at August 2015.
The Permanent Secretary added that N149.92 billion was released from the N231. 41billion budgeted for pensions as at August 2015.
She said that N14.713 billion, representing 70 percent of the N21. 03 billion provisions for SURE-P implementation had been released.
Daniel-Nwaobia further disclosed that N557 billion was budgeted for capital expenditure out of which N55.80 billion had been released due to revenue challenges.
She noted that the ministry had issued waivers, concessions and exemptions to targeted imports, especially of equipment and machinery.
According to her, “This will support economic growth, job creation and development of domestic industries such as agriculture, power and mines and steel.”
She revealed that the ministry, in partnership with development institutions, had negotiated long term credit financing agreements to support Nigeria’s real sector development, totalling over $14 billion over a four-year period.
Daniel-Nwaobia said most of the credit financing were 25 to 40 years term with 5 to 10 years moratorium at 0 to 3 percent interest rates.
It would be recalled that the ad hoc committee, last week Thursday, summoned the Permanent Secretary for the second time to appear before it.
The committee was, however, forced to postpone the public hearing due to the inability of the Permanent Secretary to appear before the committee.

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