Cumulatively, Nigeria’s public debt is now put at a whopping $86.1 billion (about N30.14 trillion) going by figures released by AfDB and the World Bank.
A push-back from the African Development Bank (AfDB) against comments by a senior World Bank official has shown that Nigeria, as at 2018, owed it and the World Bank over $10.4 billion (about N3.64 trillion at an exchange rate of N350 to the dollar). South Africa owed $4.4 billion to the two multi-lateral agencies.
With an additional $2.2 billion announced on Wednesday, Nigeria now owes the World Bank and AfDB $12.6 billion.
In a statement last week Thursday AfDB’s Communication and External Relations Department said the World Bank’s operations approved for Africa in the 2018 fiscal year amounted to 20.2 billion dollars compared to 10.1 billion dollars by AfDB.
“With regard to Nigeria and South Africa, the World Bank’s outstanding loans for the 2018 fiscal year to both countries stood at 8.3 billion dollars and 2.4 billion dollars, respectively.
“In contrast, the outstanding amounts for the AfDB Group to Nigeria and South Africa were 2.1 billion dollars and 2.0 billion dollars, respectively, for the same fiscal year,” it said.
World Bank’s President, David Malpass, had said Multilateral Development Banks, including the AfDB, had a tendency to lend too quickly and in the process, add to the continent’s debt problems.
Media reports said the AfDB faulted the claim and described it as misleading, inaccurate and not fact-based.
The bank noted that such report undermines its integrity and governance systems, and by incorrectly insinuated that it operated under different standards from the World Bank.
It stated that such notion went against the spirit of multilateralism and collaborative work between the banks.
“For the record, the AfDB maintains a very high global standard of transparency. In the 2018 Publish What You Fund report, our institution was ranked the 4th most transparent institution, globally.
“The Bank provides a strong governance programme for our regional member countries that focuses on public financial management, better and transparent natural resources management, sustainable and transparent debt management and domestic resource mobilisation.
“We have spearheaded the issuance of local currency financing to several countries to mitigate the impacts of foreign exchange risks while supporting countries to improve tax collection and tax administration.
“As well as leveraging pension funds and sovereign wealth funds to direct more monies into financing development programmes, especially infrastructure.
“The AfDB Legal Support Facility (ALSF) supports countries to negotiate terms of their royalties and taxes to international companies, and terms of their non-concessional loans to some bilateral financiers. We have been highly successful in doing so,” it explained.
The bank said its 2020 African Economic Outlook, at the end of June 2019, put total public debt in Nigeria amounted to 83.9 billion, 14.6 percent higher than the year before.
It stated that the debt represented 20.1 percent of GDP, up from 17.5 percent in 2018.
It added that of the total public debt, domestic public debt amounted to 56.7 billion dollars while external public debt was 27.2 billion dollars which represented 32.4 percent of total public debt.
The bank disclosed that South Africa’s national government debt was estimated at 55.6 percent of GDP in 2019, up from 52.7 percent in 2018.