Nigeria’s officially recorded debt obligation reached a record high of N24.39 trillion in 2018 relative to the N21.73 trillion in 201721, according to the DMO’s latest debt report. This represents a year-on-year 12.2% growth or N2.66 trillion2. Further decomposition of the data shows that both domestic and external components experienced increments: while domestic debt rose from N15.94 trillion to N16.63 trillion, external debt increased from N5.79 trillion to N7.76 trillion. However, the external debt component saw a higher increment implying that progress has been made towards achieving the 60:40 target of domestic-external debt stock mix. The share of domestic debt fell from 73.4% in 2017 to 68.2% in 2018 producing a total debt mix of 68.2% (domestic) and 31.8% (external). The review year saw the DMO make use of relatively cheaper and longer tenured external funds (Eurobonds) to achieve the debt stock mix objectives which also includes creating more space for other borrowers in the domestic market.3 With the growth in the issuance of Eurobonds, DMO should internalize the costs and risks of these changes such as currency and refinancing risk. This could limit the frequency of public borrowing.
Macroeconomic Report & Economic Updates
The paper conducts a Benefit Incidence Analysis to determine if public expenditure in education and health sector in Nigeria is pro-poor or pro-rich.
Crude oil prices have sustained upward increases for the past few weeks in October. While upward trajectory of crude oil prices is expected to be sustained in the short term in line with OPECs production cuts deal expected to run until March 2018, it is important to note that crude oil prices would remain volatile. The Nigerian government therefore should take advantage of periods of high revenue from crude oil exports to develop other sectors (such as Agriculture, Manufacturing and Services sectors) of the economy as key exporting and revenue generation sectors, and thus minimize volatility risks
Recently released data by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that there was significant increase in Nigerias total merchandise trade for 2016Q3. Basically, the total merchandise trade increased (quarter-on-quarter) by 16.29 percent to N4, 722 billion in 2016Q3;owing to 29.1 percent increase in exports and 6.2 percent rise in imports. Oil exports increased by 31 percent to N1, 943 billion, while non-oil exports increased by 20.5 percent to N440 billion. However, on the aggregate, Nigeria recorded yet another trade deficit of N104 billion, indicating continuous higher imports relative to exports. Overall, though there is improvement in the performance of non-oil sector, however, this is insufficient to effectively complement the loss in oil trade sustained since the beginning of oil price crash. This suggests that diversification into non-oil sector may not be able to rescue the economy in the short term. However, while the diversification efforts should be sustained, eliminating hurdles in oil production may be instrumental to higher exports, especially as oil price increase is gaining momentum.