Analysis: A Closer Look at Nigeria’s Rising Debt in Q1 2024

Assumpta Udochukwu
By Assumpta Udochukwu 4 Min Read

Nigeria’s debt landscape has undergone significant changes in the first quarter of 2024. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has released a report detailing the country’s domestic and foreign debt, highlighting notable increases and providing a clear picture of the financial health of Nigeria. Let’s dive into the key findings and what they mean for the nation.

A Sharp Increase in Public Debt

As of Q1 2024, Nigeria’s total public debt stock reached an astonishing N121.67 trillion (US$91.46 billion). This marks a substantial increase from N97.34 trillion (US$108.23 billion) in Q4 2023, representing a 24.99% growth in just one quarter.

This sharp increase in debt is significant and raises questions about the sustainability of Nigeria’s borrowing practices and its implications for future economic stability.

Lagos State recorded the highest domestic debt in Q1 2024, with a staggering N929.41 billion.


External vs. Domestic Debt

Breaking down the total debt, external debt stood at N56.02 trillion (US$42.12 billion) in Q1 2024. Domestic debt, on the other hand, was slightly higher at N65.65 trillion (US$49.35 billion). This means that external debt accounts for 46.05% of the total debt, while domestic debt makes up 53.95%.

The near-equal split between domestic and external debt is important to note. External debt can be more risky because of currency fluctuations and global economic conditions, while domestic debt, although safer, still requires careful management to avoid crowding out private investment.

State-by-State Breakdown

The report also provides insights into the debt levels of various states within Nigeria. Lagos State recorded the highest domestic debt in Q1 2024, with a staggering N929.41 billion. Delta State, which has a domestic debt of N334.90 billion follows this.

As of Q1 2024, Nigeria’s total public debt stock reached an astonishing N121.67 trillion (US$91.46 billion).


On the other end, Jigawa State recorded the lowest domestic debt, with just N2.07 billion, followed by Ondo State at N16.40 billion. The contrast between the highest and lowest indebted states highlights the varying financial management practices and economic conditions across Nigeria.

Implications for the Economy

The sharp rise in Nigeria’s public debt raises several concerns and considerations. Here are a few key points:

  1. Debt Servicing: As the debt grows, so does the cost of servicing it. Higher debt servicing costs mean less money available for other crucial areas such as healthcare, education, and infrastructure.
  2. Economic Stability: Borrowing is not inherently bad, especially if the funds are used for productive investments that spur economic growth. However, if the debt is not managed properly, it can lead to financial instability and reduced investor confidence.
  3. Inflation and Currency Value: High levels of domestic debt can lead to inflationary pressures, while high external debt can affect the value of the naira, especially if the global economic conditions are unfavorable.
  4. Policy Considerations: The government needs to implement effective policies to manage and reduce debt. This includes improving revenue collection, cutting unnecessary expenditures, and ensuring that borrowed funds are used efficiently and transparently.

The NBS report on Nigeria’s domestic and foreign debt in Q1 2024 provides a critical look at the country’s financial state. With a 24.99% increase in public debt from the previous quarter, Nigeria faces significant challenges.

Effective management and strategic economic policies will be essential to ensure that this debt does not hinder the country’s growth and development. The balance between external and domestic debt, as well as the varying debt levels across states, underscores the need for tailored financial strategies to address the unique needs and conditions of different regions within Nigeria.

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Assumpta Udochukwu
Posted by Assumpta Udochukwu
Assumpta is a Professional Accountant, Brand Strategist, Writer and Digital Data Storyteller with extensive experience in Finance, Digital Marketing and Business Administration. She is the Chief Analyst and Editor at, she is passionate about telling data stories in an entertaining and engaging manner.
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