About eight years after Nigeria paid off its external debt, the debt has now risen to US$6.5 billion, while domestic debt stands at 6.5 trillion naira (US$1=155 Naira), according to the Debt Management Office (DMO).
“As at the end of December, 2012, the external debt of the country was US$6.5 billion and domestic debt was N6.5 trillion. In terms of debt to GDP ratio, our debt continues to remain very sustainable and debt to GDP ratio as at that time was about 19.4 per cent, which is far much below the 40 per cent threshold for countries in our peer group,” said DMO Director-General
In 2005, Nigeria paid US$12 billion to get a debt relief of US$18 billion and wipe clean its external debt slate.
The rising external debt has attracted criticism from the opposition, arguing that it negates what the federal government said when the debt payment deal was struck.
”It is time to ask questions about the gains of the debt relief that Nigeria got in 2005. Where is the better life that the PDP-led federal government promised Nigerians after the debt relief?Where are the massive foreign investments promised? Where are the jobs that Nigerians were told will be created since the country would no longer need to spend billions of naira to service its debt?
”What did Nigeria gain from paying 12 billion dollars that could have been used for, if nothing else, massive infrastructural development?” the main opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) queried in a statement on the issue.