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President Buhari tops the list of Nigeria’s worst presidents for borrowing since 1999


The Nigerian leader sought approval from the National Assembly to borrow $4,054,476,863.00, €710 million and a grant of $125 million.

Many Nigerians are against the borrowing spree of the current administration as it seeks to provide more infrastructure amid dwindling revenue.

Nigeria’s public debt has been on the rise. As of March 2021, Nigeria’s total public debt has hit N33.1 trillion ($87.24 billion); an accumulation of borrowings from successive governments.

The Cable recently reported that despite securing debt relief during the Olusegun Obasanjo-led administration, successive governments have continued on a borrowing spree.

The newspaper stated that the federal government’s component of the public debt surged 658% to N26.9 trillion in the last 21 years. Citing data from the Debt Management Office (DMO), the report stated that federal government borrowings (local and foreign debt) climbed from N3.55 trillion in 1999 to N26.91 trillion at the end of March 2021 (the country’s latest official figure).

1. Ex-President Obasanjo
External debt: Reduction from $28.04 billion in 1999 to $2.11 billion in 2007.
Domestic debt: Increase from N798 billion to N2.17 trillion

FG’s debt: Reduction from N3.55 trillion in 1999 to N2.42 trillion in 2007 FG’s local and foreign debt level: 31.8% reduction Exchange rate: N98.02/N116.8 to $1

Ex-President Jonathan

Start of the administration (2011): External debt: $3.5 billion

President Buhari 2015: External debt: $7.35 billion Domestic debt: N8.84 trillion FX rate: 197 2020 External debt: $28.57 billion Domestic debt: N16.02 trillion Domestic debt: Increase by N7.63 trillion (June 2015 to December 2020) External borrowings: Increase by $21.27 billion (as of December 2020) FX: N381 (2020)

According to the report by The Cable, President Buhari is the country’s biggest borrower, increasing public debt (FG component) by more than 173%. The Yar’Adua/Jonathan administration took the second spot with a 155% surge in borrowing. The third spot is occupied by the Jonathan government which recorded a 58.8% increase. In the last four administrations, only the Obasanjo administration reduced public debt.

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