The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) have launched the Debt Management Roundtable to help Nigeria and West African countries provide a pathway to fiscal sustainability.
Speaking at the launch, CEO of the NESG, Mr. Laoye Jaiyeola, said Nigeria’s debt to GDP ratio has increased over the years, but the relationship between both keeps rising. He stated that Nigeria’s ability to service its debt is concerning, especially given that about 83 percent of the country’s revenue is spent on debt servicing. He said that the Debt Management Roundtable will help provide alternatives and recommendations which government can apply to ensure Nigeria’s debt is properly managed.
Afterward, members of the NESG-OSIWA Roundtable were introduced – including Dr. Musa Dukuly, Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, Central Bank of Liberia, Monrovia; and Dr. Kenneth Ofori-Boateng, Senior Lecturer, GIMPA Business School, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration.
Other members of the Roundtable included Dr. Babajide Fowowe, Lecturer, Department of Economics, University of Ibadan, Nigeria; Dr. Afolabi Olowokeere, Divisional Head, Economic Research & Policy Management the Securities Exchange Commission, Nigeria; and Mr. Taiwo Oyedele, African Head for Tax Practice, Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) Lagos, Nigeria, who is chairman of the Roundtable.
While delivering the opening remarks, Chairman of the NESG-OSIWA Debt Management Roundtable, Mr. Taiwo Oyedele, said the debt burden is not about the present but the future; and that debt and credit are not necessarily bad if properly managed. He said some of the issues affecting debt management in west Africa are poor governance, transparency and use of improper strategies. He said there is a need for collaboration with the private sector through social financing and Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), and the roundtable will develop analytics which form basis, fiscal consideration and sustainability, comparative analysis, and help to champion advocacy.
NESG chief economist and research director, Dr. Olusegun Omisakin, said that the Roundtable will allow countries to learn from each other and leverage on shared workable solutions. He reiterated that Resource management is a huge issue in west Africa as countries don’t determine the prices of produce, and this leads to improper debt management.
Members of the NESG-OSIWA Roundtable representing Francophone countries will be announced soon.