Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Even at the risk of plunging into recession any moment from now, the Federal Government yesterday, rejected World Bank’s debt relief offer being dangled at it by the World Bank. This rejection was disclosed by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, during the public presentation of the 2021 Budget, in Abuja.
According to her, after reviewing the loan agreements Nigeria entered into with other commercial lenders, it was discovered that the country has limitations to take the offer.
“On the World Bank debt relief offered to all nations, I will say for now the answer is no. The reason being that we have assessed the offer and we also reviewed the loan agreements that we are committed to between us and bilateral partners—that is, other countries that we borrowed from. We also had to review the loan agreements that we have between us and commercial lenders such as the private partners that buy our eurobonds. And right now, we are limited to being able to access this. We understand that there will be a Digital Subscriber Signalling System No. 1 (DSSI) 2.0 that is currently being considered by the G20. Not only in Nigeria. There are a number of countries globally that are not able to access the DSSI 1 because of similar limitations that we find in Nigeria. The risks are high. Taking the offer might trigger an incident by some of the members. So, we have to play safe and not take it. The good news for Nigeria is that the component of debt service obligation that we have under the bilateral agreement is actually very small for Nigeria. But if the next version comes up and these limitations are taken into account just like some of our peers also could not take because of some of limitations, we will consider it at that time and see what the conditions and what the risks are to us as a country” she said.