Nigeria Exceeds 2021 Borrowing Target, Ahmed Says

Nigeria Exceeds 2021 Borrowing Target, Ahmed Says

By Chuks Emele

Nigeria has exceeded the borrowing target it set for the current fiscal year as it seeks funds to run the budget in the face of economic woes brought by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our fiscal threshold was that we shouldn’t borrow more than 3 per cent of Gross Domestic Product,” Finance and Budget Minister Zainab Ahmed said in an interview on Arise Television. “Now we are at about 4 per cent of GDP and that’s a target that we are trying to work on and bring down.”

Efforts are also being made to increase Nigeria’s revenue-to-GDP ratio to reach 15 percent from the current 8 percent in order to boost government finances, Ahmed said.

Confronted by lower receipts from its main export, oil and gas, Nigeria has relied on local and foreign borrowing to fill the spending gap.

Total public debt is currently estimated to be more than 33 trillion naira (about 84 billion dollars) with more than two- thirds of the total being domestic debt. Concerns are growing about the sustainability of Nigeria’s debt, with as much as 83 percent of revenue recently used to service outstanding borrowings.