‘Debt Service-to-Revenue Ratio Has Reached Alarming Level’ – BudgIT

Nigeria's Public Debt Now At ₦46.25bn - DMO

BudgIT, a civic-tech organisation is worried about the woeful fiscal performance of the Federal Government’s (FG) 2022 budget and the growing subsidy payments.

The organization expressed its concerns via a statement on Monday by the assistant head of media and communications, Iyanu Fatoba.

BudgIT said the economy of Nigeria have worsened in the last eight months.

The debt service-to-revenue ratio, which has reached alarming levels within the first four months of 2022 is the most pressing concern.

Nigeria’s current debt service, which stood at ₦1.94 trillion from January – April 2022, is over 100 percent of the nation’s revenue which was ₦1.64 trillion naira, within the same period.

“This is in spite of warnings given by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that Nigeria would be spending over 100 percent of its revenue on debt service in 2026. Unfortunately, those predictions are Nigeria’s current realities,” the statement reads.

“Recall that BudgIT, in a consultation memo released in February 2022 titled: ‘Leveraging budget reforms for economic development,’ had articulated several reform issues bordering on Nigeria’s public financial management regime that affect the very core of governance, separation of powers, expenditure efficiency, and the livelihoods of millions of Nigerians; 83 million of whom live in extreme poverty.

“Four months later, some of those same challenges exist, with additional ones, if not properly managed, may spell fiscal crisis for an already impoverished nation.

“In particular, the debt service spending is only ₦93.6 billion less than the combined total personnel and capital expenditure for the period under review. Also alarming are the expenditure targets for the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), which have only been 15 percent (of the total ₦5.10 billion naira) for the period under review.

“There is no gainsaying that the fortunes of the most populous black nation on earth, Nigeria, have worsened in the last 8 months after the 2022 budget was passed.”

Gabriel Okeowo, BudgIT’s country director, said despite being confronted with a myriad of challenges ranging from the ASUU strike which has crippled tertiary education, Nigerians are waiting with bated breath for the national budget to begin to bring about relief and the positive change it was claimed to have harboured.

BudgIT then advised FG to discontinue indiscriminate borrowing through ways and means.

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