Rising debt not unusual for emerging economy – Ex-CBN director

A former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Director, Mr. Titus Okurounmu, has said the rise in the nation’s total public debt was not unusual for an emerging economy.

Okurounmu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, on Friday, that the rising debt was nothing extraordinary, because often times, government needs to borrow due to inadequate funds.

The nation’s public debt stood at N26.215 trillion as of the end of third quarter of 2019.

The director-general of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Ms. Patience Oniha, who made the disclosure at a media briefing in Abuja, said the figure was about 2. 0 per cent higher than the N25.701 trillion recorded at the end of the second quarter 2019.

Oniha said it comprised debts of the federal government, 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“The government has to borrow as its revenue is on decline due to oil price in the international market.

“The 2020 budget alone has a deficit of N1 trillion and government needs to borrow to implement this,” she said.

She said Nigerians should emphasise that the debt incurred be expended on infrastructure development.

“Expending borrowed funds on key infrastructure is what our citizens should be clamouring for, rather than consumables, as most of the Western countries our people often admire have been able to stimulate their economy through debt.”

According to her, the debt will not be a challenge because the current government is quite meticulous in handling public funds.

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