Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday defended Nigeria’s $73bn debts notwithstanding that the debt profile rose by another $10bn between 2015 and 2018.
In 2015, the VP said the debt size was $63bn, increasing by $10bn to hit $73bn in 2018.
However, Osinbajo, who spoke during a town hall meeting with Nigerians in Abuja, safeguarded the debt profile, disagreeing that the country was still within the safe region, especially when compared with other countries.
He said people had misunderstandings when they argued that the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was raising up more debts than its forerunners.
Osinbajo discharged those who expressed such fears and gave a breakdown on why he believed debts were not the country’s major problems.
Osinbajo argued that the country’s debts rose the “highest” between 2010 and 2014 when oil prices were also high.
He further explained, I want to give you the facts and figures on the debt issue.
The dollar-denominated debts of Nigeria, is the debts of the Federal Government, the states and local governments.
In 2010, Nigeria’s debt was $35bn; 2011, it was $41bn; in 2012, it was $48bn; in 2013, it became $64bn; 2014, it rose to $67bn; 2015, it fell to $63bn; 2016, $57bn; 2017, $70bn; 2018, it is $73bn.
So, the difference between 2015 and 2018 is $10bn.
One of the things that I always want you to have in mind is that when oil prices were at their highest, between 2010 and 2014, that was when we had the highest rise in debts.
The VP further argued that before people reached the conclusion that Nigeria was having much debts, they must also check the debt to Gross Domestic Product rate.
He further stated,Our debt to GDP is one of the lowest among the countries that are frequently compared to us.
Our debt to GDP is 20 percent.
When you equate it to other countries, you will see that Ghana is about 68 percent, whereas Ethiopia’s is 48 percent.
In terms of the size of our economy and debt, we are doing okay.
But, he also informed his listeners that the country had a test with revenue collection, which did not match its debt profile.