Despite paying off its Paris Club debt in 2006, Nigeria still owes an external debt of US$3.97 billion, according to Finance Minister Mansur Mukhtar.
Addressing a House of Representatives Committee hearing, the Minister said the d ebt comprised US$2.093 billion owed by the federal government and US$1.85 billion owed by the states.
But he said the debt portfolio was still manageable because it was non-multilate ral.
The Minister explained that the foreign debts were soft loans with long term pay ment duration from the World Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural De v elopment (IFAD).
â?In view of their long tenors, implying gradual instalment repayment, it is ob vious that some of the outstanding loans were contracted more than 20 years ago a nd cannot be attributed to the last few years,” he said.
In 2006, Nigeria agreed to pay the Paris Club of creditors US$12.4 billion in ex change for the remainder of its US$30 billion official debts to be written off.
The move made Nigeria the first African nation to pay off its official lenders.