The Federal Government has said that Nigeria is not in any “debt crisis” as being speculated in many quarters.
The Minister of Finance and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said contrary to speculations that Nigeria is gradually slipping into a debt crisis, the country’s debt profile is within reasonable limit.
Ahmed gave Nigeria the clean bill of health at the 4th National Budget hearing on the 2020 budget.
Nigeria’s debt profile currently stands at approximately $21 billion; about half of the country’s external reserve.
In projections for 2020, Nigeria plans to spend N2.4 trillion to service both local and foreign debts.
Despite the huge debt figures, the Minister of Finance insisted that Nigeria is not in any debt crisis, arguing that Nigeria’s debt profile is within reasonable limit at less than 20% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP).
Meanwhile, the Minister said that the deficit of the 2020 budget will be funded mainly by borrowing; pointing out that Nigeria needs to urgently increase its revenue profile even though the gains might come with pains.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who officially opened the public hearing, reminded lawmakers about the target they set for themselves to pass the budget before Christmas break.
He said the 9th Assembly is committed to correcting the anomaly in the budget cycle and ensure it is returned to the January to December arrangement.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, was optimistic that the public hearing will produce very useful outcome that will reflect the aspiration of every part of the country and give every Nigerian a sense of belonging to the proverbial “National Cake”.
President Muhammadu Buhari, had two weeks ago, presented a budget of N10.3 trillion to the National Assembly in line with Constitutional provisions.