The FGN’s external debt obligations at end-December totaled US$25.27bn, equivalent to 6.1% of 2018 GDP. This includes US$4.23bn of external borrowings by state governments, which are mandatorily guaranteed by the FGN. The debt stock increased by US$3.68bn q/q due largely to Eurobond sales of US$2.87bn in November. Additionally, debt due to Exim Bank of China and the World Bank Group rose by US$570m and US$160m respectively. International capital markets (ICM) thereby regained top spot among creditor groups.
- From a financing perspective, it is worth noting that 55.8% of the debt stock is still due to multilateral and bilateral creditors on concessional terms.
- In line with externalization, the projected N1.95trn deficit in the FGN’s 2018 budget is to be covered by external and domestic borrowings of N850bn (US$2.8bn) and N790bn respectively. The external target has been met.
- The 2019 budget proposals project external financing of N840bn (US$2.75bn at the CBN rate of N306). The objective is to boost the non-market share of the external debt stock by seeking budget loans from the likes of the World Bank and African Development Bank.
- The FGN went down this route in 2015 and 2016 but had only limited success because it was confronted by the roadblock of policy conditionality.
FGN external debt by lender group, Dec 2018 (% shares) Total: US$25.27bn
Sources: Debt Management Office (DMO); FBNQuest Capital Research
- The 2019 proposals, which are set to be examined by the National Assembly before the end of its current term, are notable for the ambitious projections for non-oil revenue collection. That said, the rise of the crude price for UK Brent/Bonny Light above US$70/b has come as a welcome relief.