DMO moves for better sensitisation of citizens on Nigeria’s debts
Newly appointed Director General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Patience Oniha, has sought the support of the media in informing Nigerians on the management of Nigeria’s debt stock and government’s drive towards infrastructural development.
During a breakfast meeting with editors and professionals at the weekend in Lagos, the DG promised that her agency would continue to engage the media with a view to keeping Nigerians well informed.
Oniha noted that her administration “will focus on loan repayment and utilisation to ensure proper implementation of Nigeria’s budget.”She told the senior journalists that the agency intends to clear debt repayment plans as well as bridge the gap between revenue and expenditure occasioned by the drop in global price of crude oil.
Her words: “For many years, the government had operated a deficit budget aimed at stimulating economic growth, because the revenue was less than expenditure.
DMO will support the government to bridge the gap between revenue and expenditure.’’
On why government has continued to raise capital from the market, Oniha explained that the focus on capital projects was a deliberate strategy to turn around the economy and boost infrastructure.
“That is why government’s focus is on borrowing. We need to upscale things so as to achieve goals of government,” she added.On government’s move to refinance treasury bill stock with a proposed $3 billion foreign loan, the DMO boss said: “As most of you know, the treasury bill notice is in the public domain.
Treasury bills are issued for a tenor of 364 days’ maximum and the discount rate is about 18 per cent to government. When you compare that to the rate of six to seven per cent in the international market, you realise straight away that there is a huge savings of 11 to 12 per cent which is what we are trying to take advantage of.”
She continued: “It is not a new borrowing. So, it is not going to increase our debt stock. It is simply converting some of our naira debts to U.S. dollars at a longer tenor and at a lower cost.”
The professionals present pledged support, expressing the hope that there would be frequent engagements to keep Nigerians better informed of the agency’s activities.