Dismayed by a One trillion Naira-increase in the nation’s debt profile over the last year, the House of Representatives has called on the Debt Management Office to stop the frequency of borrowings immediately
The House Committee on Aids, Loans and Debt Manufacturing on Monday tackled the Director-General of the Debt Management Office (DMO); Patience Oniha and members of her team on the outrageous rise in domestic debts to the tune of N3.3 trillion in 2023
Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Ahmed Safana and other Members of the Committee, during the DMO’s budget defence, expressed concern at the astronomical increase in both the country’s foreign and local debt profile through borrowing by the government.
According to the Chairman, “there is a huge increase in domestic and external debts from borrowed funds by the Nigerian federal administration and the Debt Management Office is entrusted with the role of ensuring frequency of repayment.” He noted a One trillion Naira (N1trillion) increase in the nation’s debt profile in the last year and called on the DMO as the relevant agency to immediately stop the frequency of borrowings.
Similarly, the DG disclosed that the country’s domestic debt profile stood at N3.685 trillion and that there is another N2.57 billion from external borrowing by the government.
She noted that the country’s domestic debt profile is rising from N3.2 trillion in 2022 to N3.3 trillion in 2023; due to the high-interest rates on borrowed funds from domestic and international sources of funds. Oniha further said that borrowing is a collective responsibility, and there is a need for the parliament to look at the borrowing of funds by the government from a macroeconomic perspective.
The lawmakers, however, insisted that borrowings by the government at any level must be tied to specific projects and demanded details of the N3.55 trillion earmarked for borrowing for the 2023 budget.
Speaking, Rep. Emeka Azubogu (Anambra, PDP) decried frequent borrowings while some other lawmakers demanded details of the personnel cost of the agency and the number of its employees. On his part, Rep. Prof Steve Azaiki (Bayelsa, PDP) urged the agency to engage consultants in order to enable them access funds from the $70 billion-dollar Climate Change funds in the United States.
In his own intervention, a member of the committee, Rep. Promise Dike (Rivers, PDP) demanded that the agency submits to the panel; all details of assets sold, payment made, and outstanding debts owed the agency under privatisation, and the motion was adopted.