Nigeria needs to keep watch on its domestic debt in order not to crowd out the private sector from the domestic debt market and thus stifle the real sector.
Jide Akintunde, organiser of the Nigeria Development and Finance Forum (NDFF), billed for London, said that many Nigerians may be getting uncomfortable with Nigeria’s current debt profile.
According to him, though the country was still within acceptable threshold in the debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio, there was need for restraint in order not to reach unsustainable levels.
“We should not say because we have a low debt to GDP ratio, then we should move very quickly to that treshhold whereby we have very little room to approach the debt market in future, when perhaps adverse global situation that normally impact commodity prices including crude oil will put pressure on public expenditure. What it would mean is that Nigeria will be borrowing at a higher cost.”
Speaking ahead of the NDFF two-day conference with the theme, ‘Reforming to Harness Market Opportunities and Improve Social Indicators in Nigeria’, scheduled to hold on May 24 and 25 in London, he said such developmental issues would be thrown up at the conference in order to set agenda for government on the way to go and policy direction that should be pursued, adding that though much transformation was taking place in government and in the economic sphere, a lot still needed to be done to make the economy more stable.
The conference has as its core agenda to the review the one year of policy and governance reforms of President Goodluck Jonathan. He also said the conference would seek to establish cogently, the medium term policy targets of the administration, as well as promote a positive Nigeria country outlook.
One of the scheduled keynote speakers at the May conference, Prof. Ken Ife, said Nigeria Development and Finance Forum 2012 will discuss issues which will address the constraints to trade and investment in Nigeria. In line with the push by the British Government to increase the level of trade with Nigeria, Ken Ife who is DFID Trade Adviser to the Federal Government of Nigeria and lead consultant to the World Bank and ECOWAS, said Nigeria needed to address the issue of her competitiveness, and remove the barriers to increasing her share of intra-Africa and global trade.
Speaking in a similar vein, Dr. Emmanuel Moore Abolo, who represented one of the conference sponsors, Nigeria Export – Import Bank (Nexim Bank), said the Nigerian trade policy bank has decided to sponsor the event on the strength of existing relationship with Financial Nigeria magazine, and the theme of NDFF 2012 which seeks to promote Nigeria's non oil exports.