Nigeria paid $642.43m foreign debt in Q1 2021 —DMO

THE Debt Management Office (DMO) has disclosed that Nigeria paid part of its multilateral ($81.05 million), bilateral ($61.38 million) and commercial loans ($500 million) which amounted to $642 million or N243.48 billion at N379.50/$1. Hence, external debt service payments fell to N126.02 billion (or $332.07 million) in the first quarter (Q1) 2021 from N170.60 billion (or $472.57 million) printed in Q1 2020. 

Further breakdown of the total external debt stock in Q1 2021 showed that multilateral loans accounted for 54.26 per cent ($17.83 billion) of which loans from the International Development Association (IDA) was $11.09 billion, loan from IMF was $3.48 billion while others stood at $3.26 billion. According to DMO, bilateral loan accounted for 12.73 per cent ($4.18 billion) of which loan from China (Exim Bank of China) was $3.40 billion and loan from France was $0.49 billion in Q1 2021.

Nigeria’s total public debt stock jumped year on year (y-o-y) by 15.64 per cent to N33.11 trillion as of March 2021 (from N28.63 trillion as of March 2020). The year on year (y-o-y) increase in the country’s total debt stock was chiefly due to a 24.86 per cent rise in external debt to N12.47 trillion (or $32.86 billion at N379.50/$) as of March 2021 from N9.99 trillion (or $27.67 billion at N361.00/$) in March 2020. Within a year, Nigeria received $3.48 billion worth of loans from the International Monetary Fund. Also, an additional loan of $1.43 billion was gotten from IDA. More so, the depreciation of the Naira against the greenback exacerbated external debt: yo-y, Naira depreciated against the US dollar by 5.10 per cent to close at N379.50/$ as of March 2021. Commercial loans accounted for 32.47 per cent ($10.66 billion) of which Eurobonds was $10.37 billion while diasporal bond was $0.30 billion. Local debt stock increased by 10.71 per cent to N20.64 trillion in Q1 2021 (from N18.64 trillion in Q1 2020).

Further breakdown of the domestic debt figure showed that federal government (FG’s) domestic debt stock rose to N16.51 trillion in Q1 2021 (from N14.53 trillion in Q1 2020). Despite the significant rise in FG’s domestic loan, local debt service payment increased marginally by 0.59 per cent to N612 billion in Q1 2021 from N609.13 billion recorded in Q1 2020 amid a relatively low rate.

However, a Lagos-based assets management firm, Cowry Assets Management Limited said “We expect Nigeria’s local debt and the annualised implicit interest rate (8.92 per cent) to increase in 2021 given the President’s request to the National Assembly to approve N2.34 trillion new capital raising. Also, the rising domestic interest rate environment witnessed in recent times will further exert upward pressure on debt service.”

Meanwhile, as Nigeria turns to IMF for more loans, it may have to lean more on market-driven exchange rate policy – which may further have a pass-through effect on inflation rate.



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