By Merit Ibe

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has advised  government to explore other avenues to manage the country’s debt, including equity issuance opportunities and sale of underutilized assets including real estate.

Expressing its concern about the surge in the country’s debt profile, the chamber noted that the debt management office put Nigeria’s public debt at N87.91trillion

($114.35 BN) as at the end of September 2023 and is expected to increase to at least N95.2trillion as at the end of December 2023.

President of the chamber, Gabriel Idahosa, made the statement during an address on the state of the economy for the  first quarter of 2024 yesterday.

Idahosa noted that with the approval of the National Assembly for the securitization of the outstanding debt balance of N7.3trillion owed by the Federal Government to the Central Bank of Nigeria, its inclusion has pushed the public debt balance to at  least N95.2trillion

Related News

Pointing out that the outlook for emerging and developing economies with pronounced vulnerabilities remain precarious amid  elevated debt and financing costs, the LCCI boss said  Nigeria’s high debt service to revenue ratio of 73.5% makes debt situation unsustainable and a growing fiscal concern.
He also  noted that the decelerating and low growth in manufacturing and trade largely reflect the deregulation of the downstream oil sector and high energy cost (cost of diesel and electricity tariff), exchange rate volatility, continous rise in interest rate, high inflation and weak consumer demand.

These macroeconomic factors he said  are expected to further weigh on the growth prospects of the sector .

“In the short term, growth in manufacturing is  expected to remain weak due to squeezed consumer spending while the out look in the medium term is projected to improve due to subsidy removal.

“This may attract investment in oil refining and other opportunities in the sector as well as ease price pressures which is expected to improve real wages and increase disposable income.”

Idahosa noted that increasing the monetary policy rate has thus  far proven to be insufficient in taming inflation.

He advised that there was need for  government to strengthen its support to critical sectors like agriculture, road infrastructure, power, energy, improve supply chains as well as cushion the cost of production.

He urged the government to adopt prudent fiscal policy measures and investment friendly tax policies that work in tandem with the efforts of the CBN to tame inflation.