Nigeria Borrows to Stave Off Cash Crunch, Finance Minister Says

Nigeria has already borrowed more than half the amount it budgeted for the full year as it struggles to deal with lower income from oil, Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said.
Africa’s biggest crude producer and economy has sold 473 billion naira ($2.4 billion) so far in domestic and external debt this year, within the budgeted allowance of 882 billion naira for 2015, she told reporters on Tuesday in the capital, Abuja.
“We’ve had to manage the first half on a month-by-month basis,” Okonjo-Iweala said. “We’ve had a cash-flow crunch.”
Under the 2015 spending plan approved by lawmakers last month, Nigeria, which relies on oil for about 70 percent of government spending, will run a fiscal deficit of 1.09 percent of gross domestic product, she said.
“Under very difficult circumstance we’ve managed to keep the country going,” said Okonjo-Iweala, who is part of President Goodluck Jonathan’s outgoing government which will be formally replaced on May 29, when President-elect Muhammadu Buhari is due to be inaugurated. The price of Brent crude has fallen more than 40 percent since last year’s peak in June.
Nigeria isn’t the worst-affected of oil-producing nations because it has made improvements in agricultural output and its inflation rate is still holding below double figures, Okonjo-Iweala said.
Inflation rate climbed to 8.5 percent in March, the country’s statistics agency said last month.

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