The Debt Management Office (DMO) has put Nigeria’s total national debt at N21.7 trillion ($70.92 billion) at the end of December 2017, up from the N17.36 trillion at the end of the preceding year.
A report by Reuters quoted the Director-General the Office, Patience Oniha, as providing the figures at a news briefing on Wednesday. It was N17.36 trillion at the end of 2016.
This is even as she hinted that Nigeria’s first Eurobond would be repaid when it matures in July,
Official figures show that the national debt mix is about 30 percent foreign and 70 percent local after a $2.5 billion Eurobond sale was concluded in February
It would be recalled that earlier this month, Nigeria paid off about N130 billion worth of treasury bills maturing this week instead of rolling over the debt as the government used to do in the past.
One of the government’s debt management strategies is trying to increase the ratio of foreign, dollar-serviced debt to local debt, in a bid to lower costs.
The DMO boss said that Eurobond sales last year boosted foreign reserves by $4.8 billion, in addition to February’s $2.5 billion gain.
According to her, government is also expected to save N81.66 billion after it refinanced $3 billion of treasury bills.
Successful debt sales and higher oil prices have helped the government accrue billions of dollars in foreign reserves, although they remain far from the peak of $64 billion reached in August 2008.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN had last week confirmed that at the close of business on March 9 Nigeria’s foreign reserves rose to $46 billion.