Nigeria’s total debt grows to $70.92 billion

Nigeria’s total national debt grew to N21.7 trillion ($70.92 billion) at the end of December 2017, the Director-General of Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha has said.

The total national debt was N17.36 trillion at the end of 2016.

Oniha said the first Eurobond will be repaid when it matures in July. The national debt mix is about 30 percent foreign and 70 percent local after a $2.5 billion Eurobond sale in February.

Earlier this month, Nigeria paid off about N130 billion worth of treasury bills maturing this week instead of rolling over the debt as it has done in the past.

Nigeria, with Africa’s largest economy, is trying to increase its ratio of foreign, dollar-serviced debt to local debt, in a bid to lower costs.

Eurobond sales last year boosted foreign reserves by $4.8 billion, in addition to February’s $2.5 billion gain, Oniha said.

She explained that the government is also expected to save N81.66 billion after it refinanced $3 billion of treasury bills.

Last week, the Central Bank of Nigeria said foreign reserves rose to $46 billion at the close of business on March 9.

Successful debt sales and higher oil prices have helped the government accrue billions of dollars in foreign reserves, although they remain far from the peak of $64 billion reached in August 2008.


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