Each Nigerian owes N157,906 as debt stock rises to N33.1trn

EVERY Nigerian currently owes about N157,906.30 in terms of debt per capita as the country’s total public debt hits N33.1 trillion at the end of March 2021, analysis of Nigeria’s latest total public debt stock has shown.

Debt per capita is calculated as the total public debt of a country divided by the country’s population. Nigeria’s population is estimated to be 209 million, according to the World Poverty Clock.

Data from the Debt Management Office (DMO) on Wednesday, June 9, showed that Africa biggest economy’s debt increased to N33.1 trillion in March 2021, from N32.91 trillion in December 2020. This means Nigeria grew its debt burden by N191 billion in the first three months of the year.

The DMO said in its press release that the country’s external debt, however, reduced due to the redemption by Nigeria of the $500 million Eurobond in January 2021.


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“External Debt Stock declined from $33.348 billion as at December 31, 2020, to $32.86 billion due to the redemption by Nigeria of the $500 million Eurobond in January 2021,” it said.

The DMO said, “Total public debt stock, which comprises the debt stock of the Federal Government of Nigeria, 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory, stood at N33.107tn or USD87.239 billion.

“The debt stock also includes promissory notes in the sum of N940.22 billion issued to settle the inherited arrears of the FGN to state governments, oil marketing companies, exporters, and local contractors.

Nigeria's Total Debt Stock (2015 - 2021)
Nigeria’s Total Debt Stock (2015 – 2021)

“Compared to the total public debt stock of N32.92 trillion as at December 31, 2020, the increase in the debt stock was marginal at 0.58 percent.”

Further analysis of the public debt stock shows that the domestic debt stock grew by 2.11 per cent, from N20.21 trillion in December 2020 to N20.637 trillion as at the end of March 31, 2021.

The Federal Government’s share of the domestic debt included: FGN bonds, Sukuk and green bonds used to finance infrastructure and other capital projects, and the N940.22bn promissory notes, according to the DMO.



    In January, the DMO said that the 6.75 per cent $500 million 2021 Eurobond was Nigeria’s first foray into the international capital market.

    It said the Eurobond issuance enabled Nigeria to diversify its sources of funding as it successfully raised a total of $10.67 billion from the market thereafter to finance the implementation of the federal budgets.

    The debt office said this also contributed to the country’s external reserves.

    The ICIR, in a series to mark the six years of President Muhammadu Buhari in office, reported that the present administration had increased the country’s debt burden from N12.6 trillion in December 2015 to N32.92 trillion in December 2020, indicating an increase of 161.16 per cent. With the latest total public debt of N33.1 trillion, Nigeria’s debt burden has increased by 162.68 per cent since the president took over in 2015.

    Head of Data Unit, International Centre For Investigative Reporting, ICIR.
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