Nigeria’s total debt has hit $59.39 billion (N17.36 trillion) which is equivalent to about five years national budget, official disclosed.
The Director-General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Dr Abraham Nwankwo, unveiled the debt profile when defending the agency’s 2017 budget before the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts.
Dr Nwankwo pointed out that in spite of the recession, the economic indices had not portrayed Nigeria as a weak economy to warrant seeking debt relief.
“Nigeria is not in a position to beg for debt forgiveness,'' he said.
Domestic and foreign
The profile includes domestic and foreign debts as at the end of 2016.
The external debt was estimated at $11.41 billion (N3.48 trillion), while the domestic share stood at $45.98 billion (N13.88 trillion).
Dr Nwankwo noted that a borrowing genuinely committed to infrastructural development would go a long way in developing the economy.
He said the Ministry of Finance was expanding the nation’s tax base to help repay the debt.
The expansion, Dr Nwankwo said, would be realised by ensuring that people and companies that were not paying taxes began to do so to boost the revenue base and reduce the need for borrowing.
He lamented that tax collection in Nigeria had been poor, contributing to reduced revenue generation.