The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Mr. Akinwumi Adesina has called on Nigeria to decisively resolve its debt management challenges to ignite economic growth. Adesina who spoke in Abuja on Monday at the opening of a two-day mid-term ministerial performance review retreat noted that Nigeria’s
debt service to revenue ratio is high. The AfDB president, however, acknowledged that the debt-to-GDP ratio remains “moderate”. Nigeria’s total public debt has climbed to N35.46 trillion according to the Debt Management Office data.
Adesina said economic resurgence is possible when Nigeria removes “structural bottlenecks” that limit the revenue-earning potential of non-oil sectors. “Nigeria must decisively tackle its debt challenges. The issue is not about the debt-to-GDP ratio, as Nigeria’s debt-to-GDP ratio at 35% is still moderate. The big issue is how to service the debt and what that means for resources for domestic investments needed to spur faster economic growth,” he said.
“The debt service to revenue ratio of Nigeria is high at 73%. Things will improve as oil prices recover, but the situation has revealed the vulnerability of Nigeria’s economy. To have an economic resurgence, we need to fix the structure of the economy and address some fundamentals.
“Nigeria’s challenge is revenue concentration, as the oil sector accounts for 75.4 % of export revenue and 50 % of all government revenue. What is needed for sustained growth and economic resurgence is to remove the structural bottlenecks that limit the productivity and the
revenue earning potential of the huge non-oil sectors,” he said.