Olusegun Obasanjo (1999 – 2007)
President Olusegun Obasanjo’s eight-year tenure saw a reduction in the debt level of the Federal Government from N3.55 trillion in 1999 to N2.42 trillion in 2007. This reduction represents a 31.8 percent decrease in both local and foreign debt levels.
The domestic component increased from N798 billion to N2.17 trillion within the same period, while the external debt decreased to $2.11 billion at the end of 2007 from $28.04 billion in 1999.
Umaru Yar’Adua-Jonathan (2007 – 2011)
During Umaru Musa Yar’Adua tenure as president, the domestic debt of the Federal Government rose from N2.17 trillion to N5.62 trillion.
A breakdown shows that the foreign component of the debt increased from $2.11 billion to $3.5 billion within the period under review.
Although Jonathan completed the tenure from May 2010 to May 2011 following the death of President Yar’Adua, Nigeria recorded a 24.9 percent increase in the Federal Government’s debt from N4.94 trillion to N6.17 trillion in one year.
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (2011 – 2015)
When Dr Goodluck Jonathan assumed office in 2011, the Federal Government had accumulated a debt of N6.17 trillion. A further breakdown shows that local debt stood at N5.62 trillion while foreign debt stood at $3.5 billion (about N548.65 billion, using the exchange rate of N156.7).
At the end of Jonathan’s administration in 2015, the foreign debt had risen to $7.3 billion, while domestic debt hit N8.4 trillion with an exchange rate of N197.
The Federal Government’s component of the total public debt increased to N9.8 trillion in 2015 from N6.17 trillion in 2011, showing a 58 percent increase of N3.63 trillion.
President Muhammadu Buhari (2015 – 2022)
A report by the Debt Management Office (DMO) disclosed that Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has in his over seven years administration increased the country’s debt from $10.32 billion on June 30, 2015, to $40.06 billion as of June 30, 2022. This represents an increase of 288.18 percent.
The breakdown of the DMO report shows that the debts by the 36 states in the country rose from $3.27 billion in 2015 to $4.56 billion in 2022. While the Federal Government’s external debt increased from $7.05 billion in 2015 to $35.5 billion.
Why this is happening in 2022
A country can experience sharp rises in debt due to tax cuts, exchange rate crisis, a rise in government spending, decreased tax revenue, etc. In a country like Nigeria, one of the major reasons the debt stock continues to rise is a lack of revenue sources.