By Ralph Christopher
The Debt Management Office (DMO) has explained that the N2.1 trillion allocated for debt servicing in the 2018 federal government budget was paid directly to the creditors by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF).
The agency said the explanation had become necessary following media reports (not by The AUTHORITY) that it could not account for funds allocated for debt servicing in the 2018 budget.
The management of the DMO had appeared before the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives last week at a session where the committee enquired about the utilisation of the N2.2 trillion provided for the purpose in the 2018 Appropriation Act.
Out of that amount, N2.1 trillion was allocated for debt servicing, while the DMO had an appropriation of N721.251 million.
The DMO in a statement said that reports that it was unable to account for the N2.2 trillion allocation to the DMO in the 2018 Appropriation Act was, “not only false, but extremely misleading.”
It added: “At the session, the committee enquired about the utilisation of the N2.2 trillion provided in the 2018 Appropriation Act, of which N2.1 trillion was allocated for debt servicing and the DMO’s appropriation of N721,251,798.00, making it N2.2 trillion.
“The DMO explained to the Public Accounts Committee that the amount of N2.2 trillion was not available as the DMO’s total allocation since N2.1 trillion was specifically meant for servicing of Nigeria’s domestic and external debt.
“This explains why the debt service is expressly stated as a separate line item in the annual Appropriation Acts, while the DMO’s expenditure is also stated separately.
“The DMO wishes to emphasise that the provisions in the Annual Appropriation Acts for debt servicing, including the 2018 Appropriation Act, are dedicated for debt service payments only; that is, for the repayment of principal, interest and other charges for both domestic and external debt.
“Indeed, the funds for debt servicing are never released to the DMO for spending, rather, in line with the mandate of the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF), the funds are domiciled with the OAGF, who on the advice of the DMO, effects payments directly to the creditors as at when due.
“Such creditors include multilateral and bilateral lenders like the World Bank, African Development Bank, Exim Bank of China, investors in Nigeria’s Eurobonds, as well as, investors in securities issued in the domestic market such as FGN Bonds, SUKUK, Green Bonds and Nigerian Treasury Bills.