Debt profiling: Drawing a nexus between Jonathan and Buhari Administrations

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The Debt Management Office on Wednesday, 9th September, announced that Nigeria’s public debt has risen to N31.01 trillion at the end of June.

Debt profiling: Drawing a nexus between Jonathan and Buhari Administrations
Debt profiling: Drawing a nexus between Jonathan and Buhari Administrations –

As of the end of June 2015, one month after the present regime came into power, the country’s debt profile stood at N12.12tn, this then means that in the last five years under the President Muhammadu Buhari, it rose by N18.89tn, about 155.86 per cent.

However, reports have it that most of the debts were contracted by the Federal Government. The Central Bank of Nigeria had, on Tuesday, released some data showing that the Federal Government’s component of the country’s debt stood at N24.52tn as of March 31.

With most of the loans coming from China and the World Bank, it increased by N2.38tn within a space of three months.

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Buhari’s administration has attributed many of the borrowings to the development of the country. This he highlighted on Democracy Day as follows:

  1. Our efforts on growing non-oil exports have started to yield some results. For instance, in the past year, our revenue from Cocoa and Sesame Seed increased by seventy-nine point four million US dollars and one hundred and fifty-three million US dollars.
  2. The Power Sector remains very critical to meeting our industrial development aspirations and we are tackling the challenges that still exist in the delivery of power through different strategies
  3. We are executing some critical projects through the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme including the:
    a.  Alaoji to Onitsha, Delta Power Station to Benin and Kaduna to Kano
    b.  330KV DC 62KM line between Birnin Kebbi and Kamba
    c.  Lagos/Ogun Transmission Infrastructure Project
    d.  Abuja Transmission Ring Scheme, and
    e.  Northern Corridor Transmission Project.
  4. Our agreement with Siemens will transmit and distribute a total of 11,000 Megawatts by 2023, to serve our electricity needs.
  5. On the 2nd Niger Bridge, piling work has been completed and the approach roads are being constructed. 48% of the work on this bridge has been achieved.
  6. We have constructed one hundred and two kilometres of the three hundred and seventy-six kilometres Abuja Kaduna – Kano Road representing 38%, and the forty-two point nine kilometres Obajana -Kabba Road is 87.03% complete, amongst others.

Meanwhile, Minister for the Economy (CME) and Minister of Finance in former President Jonathan’s administration, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala put the nation’s total debt stock at $63.7 billion. This includes multilateral as well as domestic loans by successive federal and state governments since 1960. According to her, $21.8 billion was incurred under their government.

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She explained that the $21.8 billion debt incurred under the Jonathan government was made up of $18 billion domestic components and $3.7 billion external components.

Okonjo said between 2007 and 2011, a debt of $17.3 billion was recorded while between 2012 and 2015, the debt incurred stood at $18.1 billion.

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She further explained that the leap in the profile between 2012 and 2015 was caused by the 53 per cent wage increase implemented by the late Umaru Yar’Adua administration, which increased government’s borrowing from N524 billion to over N1 trillion in order to meet the salary increase.

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  • From 2007 – 2011 under former President Yaradua’s administration, Nigeria incurred $17.3 billion debt.
  • 2012 – 2015 under former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, Nigeria incurred $18.1 billion, this gives a rise of about $800m
  • 2015 – 2019 under President Buhari’s administration, Nigeria’s incurred N25.7 trillion
  • March 2020 – June 2020, Nigeria’s debt profile rose from N24.52 trillion in March to N31.01 trillion in June.
Nigeria’s Annual Budget and Revenue
  • In 2015, Nigeria’s annual budget was N4.5 trillion.
  • In 2016, Nigeria’s budget was put at N6.06 trillion.
  • 2017 budget was put at N7.298 trillion
  • 2018 budget was N8.61 trillion
  • 2019 budget was N8.83 trillion
  • 2020 budget is N10.59 trillion and later beat it down to N10.27 trillion deducting about N320 billion because of the crisis in the oil market.

To say the least, Nigeria has budgeted about N45.568 trillion in the last 5 years and has risen its debt profile to N31.01 trillion. This has beaten the combination of Jonathan and Yar’Adua’s administrations with about N21.38 trillion.


If Nigerian government will need to pay up her debt, it will pay N1 trillion annually for 30 years and would still be left with a debt of N100 billion on the promise that it won’t take any loan further.


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