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Nigeria debt to hit ₦77 trillion after new borrowings

LAGOS, NIGERIA: "Jankara" market, located on Lagos Island and the skyline of the city of Lagos, May 1991. (Photo DERRICK CEYRAC/AFP/Getty Images)

Nigeria’s total public debt could rise to ₦77 trillion ($172 billion) this year from ₦44 trillion as of last September, after a loan-to-bond swap and new borrowings to fund the 2023 budget, the Debt Management Office chief said.

The Senate last week put off a decision on the president’s request to convert $53 billion worth of temporary loans to the government from the central bank into 40-year bonds after some lawmakers questioned the plan.

“If that is approved sometime this year …, it means you will be seeing that figure included in the public debt,” debt management chief Patience Oniha said on Wednesday.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday signed the 2023 budget of ₦21.83 trillion into law and said the country would pay ₦1.8 trillion ($4 billion) in extra interest this year if parliament rejects the loan-to-bond swap request.

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Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed said total public debt would rise to 35.3% of GDP from 22.97% with the loan conversion.

The conversion and new borrowings would take domestic debt to 70% of total public debt in 2023, from 61.1% currently, Ahmed said.

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