Nigeria’s Public Debt Surges to NGN121.67 Trillion in Q1-2024 Amid Rising Government Expenditures and Naira Depreciation

Recent data released by the Debt Management Office (DMO) reveals a substantial increase in Nigeria’s public debt, which surged by 25.0% quarter-on-quarter (q/q) to NGN121.67 trillion in Q1-2024, up from NGN97.34 trillion in Q4-2023. This sharp rise in debt levels is primarily attributed to new borrowings aimed at financing escalating government expenditures amidst ongoing revenue underperformance, as well as the depreciation of the naira affecting foreign debt.

The total domestic debt stock saw an 11.0% q/q increase, reaching NGN65.65 trillion in Q1-2024 from NGN59.12 trillion in the previous quarter. Conversely, the total external debt decreased by 15.5% q/q to USD91.46 billion, down from USD108.23 billion in Q4-2023, due to the Federal Government’s settlement of matured external obligations. However, in naira terms, external debt stock amounted to NGN56.02 trillion in Q1-2024, a significant rise from NGN38.22 trillion in Q4-2023.

Experts say a further significant increase in Nigeria’s total debt is expected as factors contributing to this projection include increased borrowings by the Federal Government to fund the 2024 budget deficit and the continuing impact of naira depreciation on foreign debt. Projections estimate the total public debt to reach NGN134.51 trillion, or 50.9% of GDP, by the end of 2024.

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