Nigeria says it is seeking debt rescheduling and has been talking with multilateral lenders as the coronavirus pandemic and oil crisis impact on economic activities.
This was disclosed on Tuesday by the country’s Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, during an online event jointly organised by the ministry, the United Kingdom’s Department for
International Development (DFID), and Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn.
According to the minister, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is currently in talks with some multilateral lenders on the feasibility of deferring Nigeria’s debt servicing obligations to 2021 and beyond.
The coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world, the sharp drop in oil revenues arising low demands of the country’s crude oil, and the continuous decline in international oil prices, have left Nigeria with tough fiscal decisions and difficulty fulfilling financial obligations.
Zainab stated pointed out that more than half of Nigeria’s revenues went into debt servicing, which informed the federal government’s decision to cancel its plan to borrow N850bn from the domestic capital market.
“We are not asking for debt forgiveness, but just rescheduling of our obligations,” said the minister.
Also participating in the online programme, the Director General of the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, said earnings from crude oil were expected to drop by more than 80 percent.
He further revealed that the cost of servicing Nigeria’s debts would rise by about N200bn this year.