The Central Bank of Nigeria has disclosed that the Federal Government’s debt as of March 31 stood at the N24.52tn (excluding the states and the Federal Capital Territory Administration).

The apex bank also disclosed that the Federal Government recorded a revenue deficit of N561.71bn in May.

It disclosed these in its ‘Economy monthly report’ for the month of May. The report was released on Tuesday.

The report said, “Federation account operations driven by the slump in crude oil prices in March 2020, federally collected revenue in May 2020 declined by 31.6 per cent and 12.0 per cent to N625.91bn, relative to its levels in April 2020 and May 2019 respectively.

“The receipt was 52.4 per cent below the monthly benchmark.

“Retained revenue of the Federal Government in May was N276.99bn, while total expenditure was N838.71bn, resulting in an estimated deficit of N561.71bn.

“Total FGN debt outstanding at end-March 2020, stood at N24.52tn, 59.3 per cent of which was domestic and 40.7 per cent external.”

Although a gradual easing of lockdown measures and border restrictions began in May, the report said federally collected revenue (gross) was impaired by a continued slowdown in economic activities.

Revenue from oil sources fell below the benchmark and the level in April 2020.

This was because the price of Bonny Light crude dropped sharply from $55.66 in February to $32.01 in March; the reference price of crude oil sales for NNPC’s earnings in May 2020, it stated.

The report said the federally collected revenue in May 2020 was estimated at N625.91bn.

This represented respective declines of 52.4 per cent and 31.6 per cent, relative to the monthly benchmark estimate of N1.31tn and the April 2020 receipt of N915.28bn.

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The observed shortfall reduced the revenue available to the three tiers of government in May 2020.

“Thus, the net sum allocated was N584.45bn (after statutory deductions and transfers) compared with N620.52bn shared in April,” it stated.

The report said the majority of the subnational governments generated minimal internal revenues, making them susceptible to fluctuations in federally collected revenue.

At the federal and sub-national levels, it added, the incipient fiscal crisis may not be steadied anytime soon.

Allocations to states and local governments in May 2020 fell short of their levels in the preceding month and corresponding month in 2019.

The allocations also remained significantly below the 2020 benchmarks by 46.6 and 39.8 per cent for states and LGAs respectively.

Consequently, it added, some state governments set up committees to revise their budgets for 2020.

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