Nigeria’s debt to China, France, Japan, India and Germany rose to $4.26bn as of June 30, 2021 from $3.85bn at the end of 2019, according to data obtained from the Debt Management Office.

An analysis of the data showed that the country spent $402.74m in the 18-month period servicing bilateral loans, even as it borrowed $400m.

As of December 31, 2019, Nigeria owed $3.18bn to the Exim Bank of China, $76.13m to France’s Agence Francaise Development, $361.75m to Japan International Cooperation Agency, $32.14m to the Exim Bank of India, and $202.27m to Germany’s Kreditanstalt Fur Wiederaufbua.

The bilateral loans accounted for 13.89 per cent of the country’s total external debt of $27.67bn as of the first quarter of 2020.

A total of $94.99m was paid as debt service for bilateral loans in Q1 2020, with China and India $94.61m and $382,310 respectively. Japan, France and Germany got nothing within this period.

The bilateral loans increased by $110m to $3.95bn on June 30, 2020, accounting for 12.54 per cent of the total external debt of $31.48bn.

The country spent $14.26m servicing the bilateral loans in Q2 2020, with France and Germany getting $14.22m and $44,340 respectively while China, Japan and India got nothing.

The debt owed to the five countries rose by $130m in Q3 to $4.08bn on September 30, 2020, making up 12.74 per cent of the total external debt of $31.99bn.

The cost of servicing bilateral loans stood at $114.6m in Q3, with China, India and Germany getting $100.86m, $412,220 and $13.32m respectively, while Japan and France got nothing.

Nigeria’s total indebtedness to these countries fell slightly by $2m to $4.06bn at the end of 2020, accounting for 12.17 per cent of the total external debt of $33.35bn as of December 2020.

The country incurred a debt service cost of $34.34m in Q4, with China, France and Germany receiving $20,000, $21.14m and $13.19m respectively, while India and Japan got nothing.

The bilateral loans rose by $120m in the first three months of this year to $4.18bn, accounting for 12.73 per cent of the total external debt of $32.86bn.

A total of $106.33m was paid as debt service for bilateral loans in Q1 2021, with China and India receiving $102.2m and $4.13m, while France, Japan and Germany got.

The total debt owed to the five countries increased further to $4.25bn as of June 30, 2021, with China having $3.48bn; Japan, $74.77m; France, $482.15m; India, $34.59m; and Germany, $174.39m.

Bilateral loans accounted for 12.70 per cent of the country’s total external debt of $33.47bn at the end of June, while it spent $38.22m servicing the loans in Q2 2021.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said in October that the Federal Government was very uncomfortable with the fact that it exceeded the borrowing threshold in the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

“But we have made sure that we have planned over the next few years that the borrowing is scaled down, and also that we are able to borrow at levels that we can actually repay the debt service obligation,” she added.

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