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Nigeria’s Debt is Growing, but China’s Share is Shrinking: Debt Management Office

File image of Patience Oniha, head of Nigeria's Debt Management Office.

Nigeria’s total public debt stood at $94.7 billion in 2021, up from $78.9 billion the previous year. Patience Oniha, the head of the country’s Debt Management Office (DMO) briefed journalists last Thursday in Abuja. Compared to other African finance ministries, Nigeria’s DMO has championed transparency, and these briefings demystify the country’s debt portfolio.

Oniha said the increase in lending was in line with global trends, as countries struggle to deal with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. But she insisted that Nigeria is still within the IMF’s suggested 55% debt-to-GDP ratio, as well as the 40% limit set by the Nigerian government.

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