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Africa’s Largest Crude Producer, Nigeria, Says It Owes $47 Billion to its Central Bank

By Anthony Osae-Brown

Nigeria said it owes 20 trillion naira ($47 billion) to its central bank and the obligations are yet to be added to the African nation’s outstanding public debt, according to a report by the budget office.

Zainab Ahmed Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

The debt figure is as of March 31, the budget office said in a document giving details of the country’s expenditure plans from 2023-2025 and posted on its website Friday. The outstanding public debt is at 41.6 trillion naira. 

Even with the additional obligations, the country remains “within Nigeria’s self-imposed” limit of 40% debt to gross domestic product, according to the report. The government plans to securitize its Ways and Means Advances from the central bank and revamp “it into a longer tenor amortizing facility with a lower interest rate,” according to the budget office. 

Africa’s largest crude producer barely earned enough revenues to cover debt service payments in 2021, according to the budget office while in the first four months to April, government income of 1.63 trillion naira was less than the 1.94 trillion naira needed to cover debt-service payments, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed said, according to a presentation on the budget office’s website. 

While the debt portfolio remains vulnerable to revenue and exports shocks, “the challenges are being addressed by the government through its on-going strategic revenue growth initiatives,” the report said. 

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