How accurate is Obi’s claim on Nigeria’s public debt profile?

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PETER Obi, the presidential candidate of Labour Party in the 2023 general election, has claimed that Nigeria’s debt profile rose from N12.6 trillion in 2015 to N87 trillion in 2023.

Obi made the claim while reacting to a statement by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu that his government inherited liabilities from his immediate predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari.

Tinubu had, during the meeting with the Vice-President (Country Programs) of the Islamic Development Bank, Mansur Muhtar, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia said his administration “inherited serious liabilities” when it took over power on May 29, 2023.

Reacting, Peter Obi, in a post on X, questioned why Tinubu failed to give details of the liabilities inherited from the previous government.

His words partly read: “Recall that the previous APC government made a similar claim in 2015 against the PDP administration that handed over to them without telling the nation what it actually inherited. Instead, they took our debt profile from N12.6 trillion in 2015 to N87 trillion in 2023 when they left office without improving on any indices of development: Education, Health, Poverty eradication, and Security.”

 

CLAIM

Nigeria’s debt profile rose from N12.6 trillion in 2015 to N87 trillion in 2023.

 

THE FINDINGS

Findings by The FactCheckHub show that the claim is TRUE.

To verify the claim, we used data from the Debt Management Office (DMO), the agency officially responsible for managing Nigeria’s debt.

Established on December 4, 2000, the Debt Management Office (DMO) of the Federal Government of Nigeria is responsible for managing and storing information regarding the country’s local and international debts.

Nigeria’s debt profile also known as total public debt is calculated by summing the total domestic and external debts of the federal government of Nigeria, the thirty-six states and the Federal Capital Territory.

In its latest report, the debt office says Nigeria’s total debt stock as of June 30, 2023 stood at N87.38 trillion. The total domestic debt accounts for 61.95 per cent or N54.13 trillion and total external debt contributed N33.25 trillion representing 38.05 per cent.

Nigeria’s debt stock in 2023. Source: DMO

In 2015, DMO reported that the total public debt as of December 31, 2015, stood was N12.6 trillion. The external and domestic debt stock for federal government and external debt for states was N10.9 trillion while the domestic debt of states was N1.655 trillion.

Nigeria’s debt stock in 2015/ Source: DMO

Both figures correlate with the statistics quoted by Obi in the statement.

 

THE VERDICT

The claim by Peter Obi that Nigeria’s debt stock increased from N12.6 trillion in 2015 to N87.3 trillion is TRUE, as data from Nigeria’s Debt Management Office revealed.

Nurudeen Akewushola is a fact-checker with FactCheckHub. He has authored several fact checks which have contributed to the fight against information disorder. You can reach him via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 via Twitter.

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