Nigeria to Prune Local Borrowing With Debt at $61 Billion

Nigeria is reducing its domestic borrowing after government debt reached 22 trillion naira ($61 billion) in 2017, with most of it made up of high-interest, locally-acquired credit, the country’s debt office said. The government is working on a strategy to reduce domestic debt to 60 percent of the total, from 73 percent, Patience Oniha, director general of the Abuja-based Debt Management Office, told reporters on Wednesday, Bloomberg News reported. “The key benefits of the restructuring of the portfolio are the reduction of the government’s debt-service costs, lowering of interest rates in the domestic market and improved availability of credit facilities to the private sector,” Oniha said in the capital, Abuja. Africa’s top oil producer was compelled to increase borrowing as the output and price of crude, the country’s main export, plunged from 2014, with the government losing half of its revenue, she said. As Nigeria fell into its worst economic slump in a quarter of a century, President Muhammadu Buhari sought to stimulate the economy by increasing spending. Read more.