The Nigerian Government has put the total public debt stock of the nation at $83 billion.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, disclosed this while addressing a press conference on Monday in Ikeja, Lagos State.
He decried that the country’s debt stock was being misrepresented by those he described as scaremongers.
According to Mohammed, Nigeria is not in debt trouble as being circulated as the nation is within a reasonable debt to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio.
He explained that the debt was an accumulation of successive government activities, adding that the economic state of the country was good.
The minister said, “The public debt stock is actually a cumulative figure of borrowings by successive governments over many years. It is, therefore, not appropriate to attribute the public debt stock to one administration.
“Nigeria’s total public debt stock in 2015 was $63.80 billion, comprising $10.31 billion of external debt and $53.49 billion domestic debt. By June 2019, the total debt stock was $83.883 billion, made up of $27.163 billion of external debt and $56.720 billion domestic debt.”
“It is, therefore, not correct to say that Nigeria’s external debt alone is $81.274 billion. There is yet no cause for alarm.
“This is because Nigeria has a debt ceiling of 25% in the total public debt stock to Gross Domestic Product (Debt/GDP), which it has operated within,” he added.
The minister noted that the economy has grown in the year 2019 under review, adding that the oil and non-oil sectors performed better than they did in 2018.
He also highlighted some of the feats recorded by the government in the areas of anti-corruption war and security.
Mohammed said the corruption fight was largely successful and while security, especially the insurgency in the North East has been tackled properly.
He, however, admitted that there were still pockets of attacks in the region, saying the government was on top of the situation.
The minister also informed the reporters that the government has made progress in providing food for the people, saying Nigeria was close to food self-sufficiency.
He also defended the continued closure of the nation’s borders, saying it has helped local food production and curbed crime and violent activities.
Another benefit of border closure, according to Mohammed, is the decline noticed in the rate of illegal migration into the country.