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The nation’s total public debt increased by 4.52 per cent in the first three months of the year, data from the Debt Management Office showed on Wednesday. The public debt increased from N21.73tn ($71bn) in December 2017 to N22.71tn ($74.28bn) at the end of the first quarter of 2018. The DMO said in a circular on Wednesday that the increase was largely accounted for by the increase in the domestic debts of states, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

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It added that the $2.5bn Eurobond issued in February 2018, with its proceeds still being deployed to redeem maturing domestic debt, was also responsible for the increase in the total public debt.

According to the DMO, the government is actively enabling the private sector through the instrumentality of financial markets to play a leading role in the economy. It added that while the redemption of NTBs made more funds available to banks for lending to the private sector, the decline in interest rates implied the lower cost of borrowing for the private sector.