The Nigeria’s $83 Billion Problem!

The Nigeria’s $83 Billion Problem!

The Debt Management Office (DMO) says that Nigerian’s total debt profile is N25.7 trillion (about $83 billion using the Central Bank of Nigeria official rate)). The Director-General of the office, Patience Oniha, announced this while addressing House of Representatives Committee on Public Account on Friday in Abuja.

“As at June 2019, our debt profile is at N25.7 trillion; this includes the federal, states governments and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). We call it the total public debt, out of this total, the federal government is responsible for 80 per cent of the debt,” she said.

Ms Oniha said external borrowing accounted for about 32 per cent of the total debt while the 68 per cent was domestic.

“If you look back several years, over 85 per cent of budget deficits are funded by borrowing which the DMO undertakes as approved by the Federal Executive Council and the National Assembly. We borrow from various sources, the multilaterals, the World Bank, Islamic Development Bank, the African Development Bank, China Exim and we also issue products in the international market. Locally, we are also very active in domestic borrowing, we issue treasury bills, federal government treasure bonds,” she said.

Largely, the amount is relatively huge and for most people, the problem is not necessarily the debts but what the funds were used for, especially at the state capitals. Yet, this debt profile should not be threatening if the government can innovate on policy. If we put velocity on all farmlands in Nigeria (and put those dead assets to work for Nigeria), within three years, we will unlock more liquidity across rural communities, and the accelerated growth will generate tax receipts to pay off this change. Our challenge is looking at the figure, and not inventively pursuing new domains to unlock growth. Yes, a single government policy on the digitization of farmlands can put extra $90 billion in the net worth of Nigerians, boosting spending. That will help us grow faster than sub-2.5%. Nigeria has about 82 million hectares of arable land. If you put each hectare on average of $1,100, you get about $90 billion as “unlocked value”. Recording the assets easily and making them transferable, people can take loans using the lands as collateral, magically unlocking liquidity in the economy. In short, my $90 billion is pessimistic as the unlocked value could be in multiples. 

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), says Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 2.28 per cent (year-on-year) in real terms in the third quarter of 2019.

NBS said this in its “Nigeria GDP Report for Third Quarter 2019’’ released on Friday in Abuja.

It explained that when compared to the third quarter of 2018, which recorded a growth of 1.81 per cent, the real GDP growth rate observed in the third quarter of 2019 indicated an increase of 0.47 per cent points.

The bureau said that relative to the second quarter of 2019, which recorded a growth rate of 2.12 per cent, third quarter 2019 represented an increase of 0.17 per cent points.

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Deji – let me try again. If you inherited 1,000 hectares of farmland in remote Zamfara, Nigeria will consider you a poor man today because the asset is “dead”. Under my proposal, I will get startups to record/map that farmland in your name, register it in LGA, have it in a portal which can enable you to sell 100 hectares to someone in Umuahia and the part-title moves immediately to him with all powers of the state protecting that buyer.

Also, you can put another 100 hectares as collateral to a bank to get money to pay school fees for your kids. The balance of 800 ha is documented in the LGA as assets in your name which adds to your networth. So, by doing this, mapping and digitizing and linking that asset to you, your networth could move from $0 to say $100k on that land. By having ability to “operate” on the $100k, you have built liquidity as a person and have more capacity to spend, which boosts growth. Banks, lenders etc will lend because they know your value is $100k.

Your comment was not based on my piece and video. You are essentially thinking something else. This is not selling land, this is unlocking dead capital.



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2 thoughts on “The Nigeria’s $83 Billion Problem!

  1. With the current Land Use Act, or fresh one?

    Any massive alteration that cannot be done by fiat here is as good as dead, what is holding Nigeria is very strong; the competing interests will cancel themselves, and then neutralise any positive energy…

    We need to be bold when we dream, unfortunately Nigeria is allergic to experimenting on big ideas.


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