The Director-General, Debt Management Office, Ms. Patience Oniha, has said that the Federal Government is planning to borrow N1.6 trillion to fund the 2019 budget.
Speaking at the Association of Issuing Houses of Nigeria’s semi-annual business lunch in Lagos on Thursday, Oniha said the government had been reducing its level of new borrowings, as it dropped from N2.2tn in 2017 to N1.6tn in 2018.
According to her, about N1.6tn has been set for borrowing in 2019, and the government adopted a 50:50 approach to spread its borrowing between international and local borrowings.
Oniha said the belief that the government was crowding out the private sector from the debt market was untrue. She said:
“There are issues around getting sub-nationals and corporates to come to the market.
“Corporates prefer to borrow from banks because it is faster and has lower risk than the debt market. In order for us to get these people to come to the market, we have to go back to the drawing board and plan how to tackle these issues.”
Capital market experts, at the event, said the structural issues in the economy were hindering the participation of sub-nationals and corporate in the debt market.
The experts, who spoke during a panel session on the capital market agenda for the next four years, said there is a need for the capital market to set an agenda for the government.