Nigeria’s total debt stock is N16.3 trillion – Minister

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Nigeria’s total national debt stock for both the Federal Government and the States stood at N16.3 trillion as at June 30, this year.

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The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, who disclosed this said it is made of foreign liabilities of N3.2 trillion and domestic liabilities of N13.1 trillion.

According to the Media Aide to the Minister, James Akpandem, it was necessary to correct a misconception carried in the media regarding the Minister’s response to the country’s debt status at the ongoing Nigeria Economic Summit in Abuja.

He said the Minister, who was one of the panelists on the “Policy dialogue on the Nigerian Economy” discussion, which focused at the time of the question on the domestic economy, had given a response in line with the thread of discussion in the belief that the reference to debts was in regard to contractor liabilities.

The discussion centred on ease of doing business in Nigeria, the relationship between private sector organizations and government and plans by government to help grow local businesses in line with the theme of the Summit, which is “Made-in-Nigeria”.

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Answering a follow-up question by one of the anchors of the discussion, Zain Asher Ejiofor of CNN, which followed the thread of the discussion on recent capital releases for infrastructure project, the Minister naturally assumed that she was referring to contractors’ liabilities, said the exact figures cannot be made available at that moment since, given its multi-sectoral nature, it has to be authenticated by the appropriate agencies of government before one can say what the exact figure is.

The Minister did not think that the question related to the overall debt position of the country which includes external borrowings and other liabilities.

So the issue of the Minister not answering a question on the overall debt stock of the country does not arise.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government is to release by the end of this year a comprehensive document that would set out in one publication all the various sector plans which have already been adopted by the government.

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This will make it easier for the general public to easily access government’s overall economic agenda, Akpandem said in a statement.

He said the document will consolidate and harmonize all the sectoral plans in a single document and set out in broad detail an integrated roadmap for the growth and sustainability of the country’s economy.

It would be recalled that the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) which was issued early this year had set out the strategies the government intended to adopt to stimulate the economy, create job for the teeming youths and extend support to the very poor and vulnerable segments of the society while at the same time laying the foundations for sustainable growth.

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The SIP document laid out the four key policy priorities and the six strategic intervention areas the government intended to focus on to achieve these objectives. These six strategic intervention areas encompass 34 concrete measurable and verifiable priority actions which are intended to be implemented in the 2016 Budget.

It highlighted the headline activities to be undertaken by the Federal Government this year in one document with a view to enabling the generality of the people as well as investors and development partners to have access to critical information with ease; and in turn help frame and inform public discourse and facilitate business planning.

This new comprehensive document to be released later in the year was one of the commitments made in the SIP.

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