Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Finance Minister

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) backstopped a total of N2.8 trillion in support loans to the Federal Government in 2020, the country’s Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed has said.

This as a result government’s inability to meet its revenue targets due to the impact of the fall in oil prices and covid-19 pandemic.

The support came in the form of Ways and Means, a provision in the CBN act that allows the government to borrow from the Bank. Provisions in the act cap monetary financing of fiscal deficits at 5% of the prior year’s revenues.

Ahmed made the disclosure during a public presentation of the 2021 FGN Approved Budget – Breakdown & Highlights which was done via Zoom, an online platform for virtual meetings.

According to the information contained in the report, the central bank provided financial support to the tune of N2.8 trillion which the government used to fund its budget expenditure. In the breakdown seen by Nairametrics, out of the 2020 budget deficit of N6.1 trillion, N2 trillion was sourced from domestic borrowing, and another N12 trillion from foreign borrowing. The rest was via Ways and Means.

The Minister said out of the N5.3 trillion in budgeted revenue, only N3.9 trillion was generated as actual, resulting in a 27% revenue shortfall for the year.

However, in terms of expenditure, while N9.97 trillion was appropriated, N10.08 trillion (representing 101%) was spent during the year.

The shortfall in revenues and increased spending resulted in an actual deficit spending of N6.1 trillion as against N4.6 trillion budgeted during the year

Nigeria also increased its debt service from N2.9 trillion to N3.2 trillion. Interest on Ways and Means totaling N912.5 billion contributed significantly to the cost.