The Federal Government has discovered unrecorded debts of N2.2tn ($7.22bn) left over from the previous administration.
It said in a tweet that the debts were uncovered after an audit aimed at improving transparency, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
“(The) N2.2tn unrecorded debt(s) owed contractors/private sector found on (the) Federal Government’s books, inherited from previous administration,” the message, posted on twitter, stated.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, had on Sunday said in a statement that the debts were owed to contractors, oil marketers, exporters and electricity distribution companies.
Adeosun said they would be settled by issuing a 10-year promissory note.
President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to restore financial sanity in Nigeria, accusing previous governments of throwing the rule books “to the dogs,” according to Reuters.
The debts amount to 2.3 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, according to analysts at Ecobank. Nigeria has a debt-to-GDP ratio of 16.6 per cent.
The Ecobank analysts said investors might worry about the potential of more debt to emerge, with oil receipts and foreign inflows declining, which could push up Nigeria’s bond yields and increase the government’s cost of servicing its debt.
The Federal Government planned a record N6.06tn budget for this year, but it has struggled to fund it.
It now plans to increase the 2016 amount by 20 per cent for next year’s budget to help lift the economy out of recession.
The Federal Government had last week named Citigroup, Standard Chartered Bank and Stanbic IBTC Bank to manage a planned $1bn Eurobond sale and hopes to start the issuance process in January.
The country is facing its worst economic crisis in 25 years, brought on by low oil prices, which have slashed government revenue, hammered the naira and caused chronic dollar shortages, thereby frustrating businesses.