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The office of the Minister of Budget and National Planning has explained why the minister, Udoma Udoma, was hesitant in providing the status on the country’s total debt status to a CNN anchor.
In an official statement released on Tuesday in Abuja, the office of the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, have explained why the minister who reportedly demonstrated incompetence at an event on Monday, was hesitant in providing the country’s total debt status on demand.
We reported on Tuesday that during the opening session of the policy dialogue on the Nigerian economy at the ongoing Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja, the minister was embarrassed live on stage and all national televisions.
Udo Udoma was left red-faced and totally embarrassed when he failed to answer a simple question to divulge the specific figure of Nigeria’s debt profile when he was asked about the nation’s total debt profile by a CNN anchor identified as Zain Asher.
According to Premium Times, the minister’s spokesperson, Akpandem James, said;
“It has become necessary to correct a misconception carried in the media regarding the Minister’s response to the country’s debt status at the ongoing Nigeria Economic Summit in Abuja.
“The Minister, who was one of the panelists on the ‘Policy dialogue on the Nigerian Economy’ discussion, which focused at the time of the question on the domestic economy, had given a response in line with the thread of discussion in the belief that the reference to debts was in regard to contractor liabilities.
“The discussion centred on ease of doing business in Nigeria, the relationship between private sector organizations and government and plans by government to help grow local businesses in line with the theme of the Summit, which is ‘Made-in-Nigeria’.
“The Minister naturally assumed that she (the anchor of the programme) was referring to contractors’ liabilities.
“The Minister did not think the question related to the overall debt position of the country, which includes external borrowings and other liabilities.
“So the issue of the Minister not answering a question on the overall debt stock of the country does not arise.
“For the information of the public, the total national debt stock (both the Federal Government and the States) stood at N16.3 trillion as at June 30, this year. This is made of foreign liabilities of N3.2 trillion and domestic liabilities of N13.1 trillion,” the spokesperson said.