Home African CEOs Profiles Okonjo-Iweala got us out of debt, but we’re now back there —Amina Mohammed
Profiles - September 13, 2018

Okonjo-Iweala got us out of debt, but we’re now back there —Amina Mohammed

Deputy Secretary-General of United Nations, Amina Mohammed, during an interview, said former Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, spent years to get Nigeria out of debt but lamented that the country was now back to worrying levels of debt.

While speaking at the UN working together conversation with Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the IMF on Tuesday, Amina Mohammed expressed her concern over the rising level of debt in Nigeria and the rest of Africa.

She said the UN and IMF must have better conversations on the demands of a growing economy, seeking ways to make growth better and inclusive.

“Public resources are always going to be important, and so is ODA and the private sector. But I think we still haven’t yet got quite the solution and I hope that the work that we do together will open up that space to think more on how to leverage that.

“As I was coming up from New York, some of the concerns that came up from the meeting we had in China just recently and reports that we have; the debt issues are really big, I mean, having experienced what it was for Ngozi (Okonjo-Iweala) to get debt relief.

“It took her a few years to convince people, and we are now back again in my country, with a level of debt that is worrying, but its happening all over. Africa, is that the way we want to go?

“I think we really need to sit down and have a better conversation about all the asks of a growing economy; that needs to be inclusive, it needs to succeed, because stability is needed more than ever today, across our countries and where we are working.”

In October 2005, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who was the finance minister announced a final agreement with the Paris Club for debt relief worth $18 billion and an overall reduction of Nigeria’s external debt stock by $30 billion.

The deal was completed on April 21, 2006, when Nigeria made its final payment and its books were cleared of any Paris Club debt, bringing Nigeria’s external debt profile to just $3 billion while domestic debt was only about N1 trillion.

As at June 30, 2018, Nigeria’s total debt profile, according to the Debt Management Office (DMO) had risen to $73.21 billion or N22.38 trillion.

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