A twitter user, @femiTRIP, tweeted on December 19, 2017: “Wait a minute! Buhari accumulated whooping [sic] 45% of Nigeria’s total debts in less than 3yrs in office and no single project done?”.
We therefore decided to fact-check the question, which appeared to be a claim, using official numbers from the Debt Management Office (DMO).
According to information obtained from DMO’s website, Nigeria’s Total Debt Stock (Federal government +States) stood at N12.12tr as at June, 2015. Recall that President Buhari was sworn in on May 29, 2015, hence our use of the June 2015 position.
As at September 2017, Nigeria’s Total Debt Stock (Federal government +States) stood at N20.37tr as shown in Table 1 below:
Therefore, from June 2015 to September 2017, increase in the National Debt Stock, representing net new borrowings by FG and state governments, amounts to N8.25tr, or 41% of the Total National Debt Stock.
However, only the federal government’s borrowings can truly be said to have been accumulated by Buhari as state governments are responsible for their own borrowing decisions. We will therefore examine the amounts borrowed by the federal government only.
Federal Government’s Debt:
A breakdown of the June 2015 national debt numbers into federal and sub-national components was not provided on the DMO’s website. But the breakdown provided as at December 2015 showed that N10.28tr of Total National debt stock was owed by the Federal Government.
Again, no breakdown of the September 2017 External Debt stock numbers into federal and sub-national components was available. However, as at June 2017, FG’s external debt stock stood at N3.397tr.
|Federal Government’s Debts||December 2015 (In Millions)||June 2017 (In Millions)||September 2017 (In Millions)|
For this analysis, we therefore utilised the December 2015 and June 2017 figures that are readily available.
If we assume that FG’s June 2017 External Debt position remained unchanged in September 2017, FG’s Total Debt Stock as at September would have amounted to N15.89tr (June External debt– N3.397tr plus Sept. Domestic Debt – N12.495tr), as shown in Table 3 below:
* If we assume that States’ June 2017 External Debt position was maintained in September 2017, and that FG’s Debt accounted for the balance, new borrowings during President Buhari’s tenure, would amount to only 36% of FG’s Total Debt Stock as at September 2017.
Compared to the December 2015 FG’s Total Debt position, increase in FG’s Debt stock, representing net new borrowings, amount to 35% of FG’s Total Debt Stock as at September 2017.
However, the tweeter compared the new debt accumulated by Buhari to “Nigeria’s total debt”. It therefore appears that we ought to compare FG’s newly accumulated debts to the National Debt Stock (FG+States).
FG’s net new borrowings (N5,608,713.57, show in Table 3 above) expressed as a percentage of the total national debt as at September 2017 (N20,373,428.59, shown Table 1 above), amounts to 27%). This represents the Federal Government’s contribution to the total national debt as at September 2017.
From the calculations above, we can summarise as follows:
- That new debt accumulated under the new administration, by both federal and state governments of Nigeria, is 41% of the total national debt stock as at September 2017.
- That new debt accumulated by the federal government alone, since President Buhari took office, is 27% of the total national debt stock as at September 2017.
- That new debt accumulated by the federal government since President Buhari took office, is 35% of the federal government’s debt stock as at September 2017.
Therefore, based on the findings above, the claim that President Buhari has accumulated 45% of Nigeria’s total debts in less than 3 years in office is false.