Nigeria total debt rises to almost $63 bln by end of March

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    LAGOS, June 5 – Nigeria’s total debt rose to 19.15 trillion naira ($62.91 billion) as of March 2017, from 17.36 trillion naira at the end of last year, the Debt Management Office said on Monday.

    Africa’s biggest economy, which slipped into recession last year for the first time in 25 years, raised $1 billion in February and $500 million in March from Eurobond sales.

    The government intends to use the money raised to plug its budget deficit and fund infrastructure development. The record 7.44 trillion naira 2017 budget was passed by lawmakers last month but is yet to be signed into law by the presidency.

    The government planned to spend 6.1 trillion naira last year as part of its bid to increase capital expenditure, but struggled to fund its budget. The 2017 plan projects a deficit of 2.21 trillion naira, implying a deficit equivalent to 2.18 percent of Nigerian GDP.

    The external component of Nigeria’s debt stood at $13.80 billion at the end of the first quarter, against $11.40 billion at the end of December, the debt office said on its website.

    Local debt fell to 11.97 trillion naira, against 13.88 trillion naira last year. ($1 = 304.38 naira)

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    Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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