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Nigeria Adopts New Software For Debt Management

Nigeria has adopted new software developed by the Commonwealth Secretariat aimed at transforming the nation’s handling of its substantial $114.35 billion debt portfolio.

The Senior Communications Officer at the Communications Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Snober Abbasi, disclosed the nation’s adoption of a more robust technological solution, Meridian software, for debt management in a statement on Monday.

The deployment of the Commonwealth Meridian software was sequel to the Nigerian government’s request for support in upgrading its debt management capabilities.

In response to the request, the Commonwealth Secretariat organized a two-week training workshop for 15 Nigerian debt managers at its London headquarters to sharpen their skills in recording, analysing, and managing debt across various dimensions.

Abbasi stated: “A powerful software developed by the Commonwealth Secretariat is being deployed in Nigeria to transform how the country manages its public debt portfolio of US $114.35 billion while enhancing transparency.

“At the request of the Government of Nigeria, the Commonwealth Secretariat hosted a two-week training workshop for 15 Nigerian debt managers at its headquarters in London this month.

“During the workshop, participants received hands-on training on getting their debt databases ready for seamless migration to the new software, known as Commonwealth Meridian, and learned essential skills for recording, analysing, and managing various types of debt using the advanced tool”, he added.

Speaking during the opening session of the workshop on February 5, the Acting High Commissioner of Nigeria to the United Kingdom, Dr. Cyprian Heen, emphasised the critical role of Meridian software in fostering sound debt management practices, and harped on the importance of monitoring debt liabilities to mitigate escalating costs and risks, thereby ensuring funds are available for sustainable development projects.

According to him, the Meridian software assures accurate recording of debt and facilitating timely debt service payments, which are essential for effective government financial management.

The Envoy said: “Meridian allows borrowers to record their debt accurately and comprehensively across the full range of debt management transactions and operations.

“In turn, this facilitates accurate and timely debt service payment to creditors while allowing governments to monitor their liabilities.”

In his remarks at the workshop, Director of the Debt Recording and Settlement Department at Nigeria’s Debt Management Office (DMO), Maraizu Nwankwo, said that transition to the technological solution demonstrate Nigeria’s commitment to improve its debt management system.

According to the debt management expert, Meridian addresses the challenges previously faced with CS-DRMS and supports the office in catering to the growing demand for public debt data from various stakeholders.

Nwankwo said: “Meridian would help to address the challenges encountered by our debt officials in the use of CS-DRMS and support the Debt Management Office in meeting the increasing demand for public debt data in various forms by the stakeholders and users.”

Meridian, which was launched in 2019, is set to replace the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Debt Recording and Management System (CS-DRMS), which has been instrumental in Nigeria’s public debt management since the 1990s.

The new software offers real-time access to debt data, enhancing the ability of managers to monitor liabilities and make informed decisions. This upgrade is pivotal in meeting national financing needs efficiently and at an acceptable risk level.

With her migration to the Meridian software now in use in 39 Commonwealth countries, Nigeria has  joined a global community committed to enhancing debt management practices for sustainable growth.

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