LAGOS Dec 13 Nigeria's government has found
unrecorded debts of 2.2 trillion naira ($7.22 billion) left over
from the previous administration, which turned up after an audit
aimed at improving transparency, it said in a tweet.
"2.2 trillion unrecorded debt owed contractors/private
sector found on federal government books, inherited from
previous administration," said the message posted on twitter.
The debts were owed to contractors, oil marketers, exporters
and electricity distribution companies, Finance Minister Kemi
Adeosun said on Sunday in a statement. They will be settled by
issuing a 10-year promissory note, Adeosun said.
President Muhammadu Buhari, elected last year on a promise
to end corruption and mismanagement, has vowed to restore
financial "sanity" in Nigeria, accusing previous governments of
throwing the rule books "to the dogs".
The debts amount to 2.3 percent of Nigeria's gross domestic
product, analysts at Ecobank said. Nigeria has a debt-to-GDP
ratio of 16.6 percent.
Nigeria is facing its worst economic crisis in 25 years,
brought on by low oil prices, which have slashed government
revenue, hammered its currency and caused chronic dollar
shortages, frustrating businesses.
Investors may worry about the potential of more debt to
emerge, with oil receipts and foreign inflows declining, which
could push up Nigeria bond yields and increase the government's
cost of servicing its debt, analysts at Ecobank said.
Nigeria planned a record 6.06 trillion naira budget for this
year, but it has struggled to fund it. It now plans to increase
the 2016 amount by 20 percent for next year's budget, to help
lift the economy out of recession.
Nigeria last week named Citigroup, Standard Chartered
Bank and Stanbic IBTC Bank to manage a
planned $1 billion Eurobond sale and hopes to start the issuance
process in January.
($1 = 304.50 naira)
(Additional reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram, editing by Larry