The World Bank has disclosed that Nigeria, Ghana and some other countries refused to partake in a temporary suspension of debt-service payments because they had concerns about future access and credit-rating downgrades.
The World Bank made this revelation in the new International Debt Statistics 2022 report which was published on Monday.
According to the 2022 report, Nigeria had a 16% increase in the non-guaranteed debt of the private sector in 2020.
It said, “In sub-Saharan Africa, both Ghana and Nigeria recorded a 17% increase in external debt stocks driven by purchases from the IMF of $1bn and $3.4bn, respectively, plus in Ghana, the $3bn pre-pandemic Eurobond issue, and for Nigeria, a 16% rise in the non-guaranteed debt of the private sector.”
It also said at the end of 2022, the 10 largest borrowers eligible for Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), including Nigeria, accounted for $509bn external debt stock and 65% of the end-2020 private non-guaranteed external debt.
“There was wide divergence in the rate at which external debt accumulated in individual DSSI-eligible countries, including the group’s largest borrowers. The combined external debt stock of the 10 largest DSSI-eligible borrowers (Angola, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mongolia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Zambia) was $509bn at end-2020, 12% higher than the comparable figure at end-2019 and equivalent to 59% of the external debt obligations of all DSSI-eligible countries combined.
“They also accounted for 65% of the end-2020 private non-guaranteed external debt of DSSI-eligible countries,” the report said.
The report added that the DSSI offered 73 IDA-eligible and least developed countries a temporary suspension of debt-service payments owed to official bilateral creditors.
“As of September 2021, 48 countries were participating in the DSSI. Other eligible countries chose not to participate for various reasons. Countries with market access, like Ghana and Nigeria, had concerns about future access and credit-rating downgrades,” it said.