FG Shuns ₦31trillion Debt Relief

Nigeria will not apply for relief to get out of its crippling ₦31 trillion debt burden even as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is pushing debt relief for low-income countries.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed made this disclosure on Tuesday in Abuja during the public presentation of the 2021 budget.
Responding to a question on whether Nigeria would take the option of the debt relief, Ahmed said the government was not considering such at this time.
She said several loan agreements have been entered with various lenders, adding that asking for debt relief would portend Nigeria as a country that cannot repay its indebtedness in the eyes of creditors.
The Minister also defended the 2021 budget deficit which has exceeded the Fiscal Responsibility Act threshold of three percent.
President Muhammadu Buhari had presented a budget proposal of ₦13.08trn up by 22.9 percent from the ₦10.8trn 2020 budget, with revenue projected at ₦7.5trn.
The budget deficit is projected to grow by ₦5.21trn made up of Government-Owned Enterprises and project-tied loans thus representing 3.64 percent of the budget size.
The ₦5.21trn budget deficit exceeds the three percent threshold prescribed by the FRA 2007 for the annual budget.
Ahmed said that although the 2021 budget deficit exceeded the three percent threshold, the government has not breached the law.
She also said that there is a provision in the Fiscal Responsibility Act that allows the government to surpass the threshold during “unusual times”.

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