Nigeria will restructure a total of 23.7 trillion naira ($53 billion) in short-term loans owed to its central bank to 40-year debt at 9% interest, President Muhammadu Buhari said in a letter to parliament seeking approval for the transaction.
Africa’s largest economy has struggled with low revenues due to crude theft in its oil-producing region. Oil theft cost it more than $2 billion during the first eight months of this year, a Senate investigation found in November.
Economists say the Nigerian government is spending more on debt repayments than on education and health, but Buhari has said his government had no choice but to borrow its way out of two recessions in the last seven years.
Buhari’s party has a majority in the parliament, which has never turned down any of his requests for approval.
Nigeria’s economy has started to grow, but is fragile and the performance of its dominant oil sector is weak.—Zawya News