Nigeria’s Debt Stock Now N39.6 trn After N6trn Increase in 2021


Debt Management Office in its briefing on Thursday revealed that Nigeria’s public debt stock rose to $95.7bn (N39.6trn) in 2021.

The figure rose by more than N6trn from what was recorded in 2020.

Director General of the DMO, Patience Oniha revealed this on Thursday at a media briefing in Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital territory. 

Ms. Oniha said the amount of debt increase was significant to the financing of budget deficits, capital projects and towards the recovery of the economy.

“Nigeria’s total public debt as at December 31, 2021, was N39,556 trillion or $95.779 billion. The amount represents the total external and domestic debts of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), 36 state governments and the federal capital territory,” she said.

“The Public Debt Stock for December 31, 2021, includes New Borrowings by the FGN and the sub-nationals. For the FGN, it would be recalled that the 2021 Appropriation and Supplementary Acts included Total New Borrowings (from Domestic and External sources) of N5.489 Trillion to part finance the Deficit. Borrowings for this purpose and disbursements by multi-lateral and bi-lateral creditors account for a significant portion of the increase in the Debt Stock. Increases were also recorded in the Debt Stock of the States and the FCT.

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“The New Borrowings were raised from diverse sources, primarily through the issuances of the Eurobonds, Sovereign Sukuk and FGN Bonds. These capital raisings were utilized to finance capital projects and support economic recovery.”

“The comparable figure for December 31, 2020, was N32.915 trillion or $86.392 billion. The public debt stock for December 31, 2021, includes new borrowings by the FGN and the sub-nationals. For the FGN, it would be recalled that the 2021 appropriation and supplementary acts, included total new borrowings (from domestic and external sources) of N5.489 trillion to part-finance the deficit.”

She said state governments and the FCT also had increases in their debt stock. 

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“Borrowings for this purpose and disbursements by the multilateral and bilateral creditors account for a significant portion of the increase in the debt stock. Increases were also recorded in the debt stock of the states and the FCT.”

While debt has increased, the DMO chief said Nigeria is still within its GDP to public debt stock ratio of 40% as imposed by the Nigerian government, 55% as set by the IMF, and 70% set by the West African regional bloc, ECOWAS.

In her defense of the Nigerian government’s borrowing, she said the government is watchful of the debt-to-revenue ratio and is working to increase its revenues to match and surpass its debts.

“The new borrowings were raised from diverse sources, primarily through the issuances of the Eurobonds, sovereign Sukuk, and the FGN bonds. These capital raisings were utilised to finance capital projects and support economic recovery,” 

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“With the total public debt stock to GDP as at December 31, 2021, of 22.47 percent, the debt-to-GDP ratio still remains within Nigeria’s self-imposed limit of 40 percent. This ratio is prudent when compared to the 55 percent limit advised by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for countries in Nigeria’s peer group, as well as, the ECOWAS convergence ratio of 70 percent.”


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