Experts have warned that it is imperative for the Federal Government to closely monitor the country’s current debt position, to ensure that it does not surpass a debt to GDP ratio of 30 per cent. The warning came as the latest figures released by the Debt Management Office (DMO) revealed that the nation’s public debt stock is approaching the 30 per cent mark.
Available data from the DMO showed that Nigeria’s total debt stock (addition of external and domestic debts) as at December 31, 2011 stood at N6.510 trillion representing an increase of 24.37 per cent from the December 31, 2010 figure of N5.235 trillion. A breakdown of the debt stock showed that external debt accounted for 13.64 per cent of the total debt stock at N887.95 billion, while domestic debt stock accounted for 86.36 per cent of the total debt stock at N5.623 trillion.
The total public debt stock in the country as at December 2011 is estimated at about 17.50 per cent of the GDP, as against the applicable critical limit of 40 per cent for countries in Nigeria’s economic peer group. This, however, means that Nigeria’s debt portfolio has a wide fiscal sustainability space.