Femi Asu with agency report
Against the backdrop of the nation’s rising debt profile, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has said the Federal Government must not borrow more to fund its budget.
Adeosun said the government should instead raise the money needed by other means, calling into question planned foreign loans of $2bn from lenders like the World Bank, according to Reuters.
The government had planned to borrow extensively from overseas to fund a record budget aimed at helping the country spend its way out of its first recession in 25 years.
But plans for lenders like the World Bank and the African Development Bank to loan at least $2bn to Nigeria have been stalled for over a year as international organisations’ frustrations mounted at the country’s refusal to impose key fiscal reforms such as allowing its foreign exchange rate to float freely.
The minister’s comments, made at a business forum in Abuja, suggested that the government would no longer seek such loans, or an additional $1.5bn it had planned to raise from international debt markets.
“We cannot borrow any more, we just have to generate funds domestically enough to fund our budget and mobilise revenue to fund the necessary budget increase,” she said.
In May, the head of Nigeria’s budget office said the country had a shortfall of $7.5bn for the 2017 budget expenditure, and added that would be addressed with $3.5bn from the aforementioned loans and debt.
The government also planned to raise $4bn from the local debt market, he said at the time.
The Presidency signed off on its record N7.44tn budget for 2017 in June, after numerous delays.
The plan projects a deficit of N2.21tn, implying a deficit equivalent to 2.18 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.