OVERVIEW OF: Nigeria Was Not Completely Debt Free In 2007 As Claimed By Atiku Abubakar
Atiku Abubakar, on Friday, stated that Nigeria experienced an unprecedented economic boom with a 6 per cent annual growth and paid off its debt when former President Olusegun Obasanjo and himself managed the nation’s affairs.
In a Twitter post, he described the period between 1999 and 2007 when he served as vice president of the country as a time of national restoration for the country when the country was without debt.
“Between 1999 and 2007, Nigeria paid off her entire foreign debt while maintaining an unprecedented 6 per cent annual GDP growth.
“Those were periods of national restoration, and I am very proud of the work President Obasanjo and I did for this nation we care so much for. Facts don’t lie,” he tweeted.
But this is not a true statement, according to the data published by the Debt Management Office, DMO, the government’s agency that keeps records of Nigeria’s debt portfolio.
Nigeria’s debt history according to DMO, shows that the country was indebted to external sources to the tune of $28.04 billion in 1999, of which $20.5 billion was owed to the Paris Club of creditors.
The data also reveals that while the debt owed the Paris Club was paid in 2006, following a debt relief program approved by the World Bank. The country’s external debt was $3.54 billion and climbed to $3.65 billion in 2007.
The country’s external debt profile continued to rise to $10.72 billion in 2015 Currently, the debt stands at $27 billion as of March 2020 under President Buhari’s administration.
An indication that the country’s external debt profile had increased by more than 50 percent under Buhari administration.
Nigeria though had a fair share of economic boom recording a positive growth rate between 1999 to 2007. According to the World Bank, the country had a stable economic growth during the period recording 5.02 percent in 2000, 5.92 percent in 2001, 7.35 percent in 2003, 9.25 percent in 2004, 6.44 percent in 2005, 6.06 percent in 2006 and 6.59 percent in 2007.
However, President Buhari’s administration has endured a turbulent economic growth registering Nigeria’s first recession after 25 years in 2016, due to lower revenues from a drop in crude oil prices.