N31Tr Debt: Nigeria Does Not Need Relief from Her Creditors, Says Finance Minster
The Federal Government said Tuesday that the nation would not be interested in relief from its N31trillion debts being canvassed for low-income countries by International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said at the public presentation of the 2021 budget, that Nigeria would not apply for such relief.
She said several loan agreements have been entered with various lenders, adding that asking for debt relief would portend “Nigeria as a country that cannot repay its indebtedness in the eyes of creditors”.
The Minister also defended the 2021 budget deficit, which she said, had “exceeded the Fiscal Responsibility Act threshold of three percent”.
President Muhammadu Buhari had presented a budget proposal of ₦13.08trn up by 22.9 per cent from the ₦10.8trn 2020 budget, with revenue projected at ₦7.5trn.
The budget deficit is projected to grow by ₦5.21trn made up of Government-Owned Enterprises and project-tied loans thus representing 3.64 percent of the budget size.
The ₦5.21trn budget deficit exceeds the three per cent threshold prescribed by the FRA 2007 for the annual budget.
Ahmed said that although the 2021 budget deficit exceeded the three per cent threshold, the government has not breached the law.
“There is a provision in the Fiscal Responsibility Act that allows the government to surpass the threshold during unusual times”, she said.