No cause for alarm over FG’s `Borrowing Plan’ — finance minister




By Racheal Ishaya
#TrackNigeria: The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed has assured Nigerians that there is no cause for alarm over Federal Governments’ borrowing as it still remained within the fiscal limits.

The minister gave the assurance in a statement signed by her Special Adviser on Media and Communications, Mr Paul Abechi on Friday in Abuja.

Ahmed said that although the nation’s debt was within sustainable limits, there was the need to increase domestic resource mobilisation to bring down the debt to revenue ratio.

She explained that the government’s commitment to improve its revenue was what led to the recently inaugurated Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative.

The minister explained that the initiative aims to achieve sustainability in revenue generation, identify new revenue streams as well as enhance existing streams.

“Our targeted revenue to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio is 15 per cent as set out in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

“We will continue investing in the ERGP implementation by leveraging finance for critical infrastructure and our social investment programmes.

“These investments we believe will guarantee a sustainable future.

“In 2019 and in line with the ERGP, we will continue to invest resources in achieving our fiscal priorities which are enhancing revenue generation, collection and monitoring,’’ she said.

Ahmed said other fiscal priorities of the government include optimising capital and recurrent expenditure, managing both domestic and global fiscal risks and increasing coordination of fiscal, macroeconomic, monetary and trade policies.

Data from the Debt Management Office shows that the total debt stock comprising of the external and domestic debts of the Federal Government, the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) stood at N22.42 trillion.

The 2019 budget presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari in December, 2018 estimated that N1.86 trillion will be borrowed to finance the budget deficit.

Also, the sum of N2.14 trillion was provided for debt service in 2019. Of this proposed amount, 80 per cent is to service domestic debt which accounts for about 70 per cent of the total debt stock. (NAN)




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