Osinbajo to Nigerians: Don’t panic over rising public debts, 2021 budget deficit
Nigerians need not panic over the country’s rising public debt and how the huge 2021 budget deficit would be financed, the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, said on Wednesday in Abuja.
Rather, he said, what Nigerians should be concerned about is the purpose for which the debts are being used.
Mr Osinbajo spoke during a media roundtable with a select group of journalists in his office.
He was briefing the journalists on the progress of the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) approved by the Executive Council of the Federation last June to develop a response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the government is in a good place in the management and utilisation of funds from loans to finance the deficit in the budget.
In September, the Debt Management Office (DMO), the government agency managing the country’s debt, said total public debt stock increased by about N2.38 trillion, or $6.593 billion, as of June 30 this year.
The agency said the debt grew from about N28.628 trillion, or $79.303 billion, as of March 31 to over N31.009 trillion, or $85.897 billion.
On Tuesday, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, during the public presentation and analysis of the details of the “2021 Budget of Economic Recovery and Resilience,” said the N13.08 trillion proposed appropriation has total deficit component of about N5.196 trillion.
The deficit, which constitutes about 3.64 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), the minister said, would be financed through borrowings from domestic and foreign sources as well as loans from multi-lateral and bilateral finance institutions.