Nigeria will assist South Sudan in managing its huge debt profile and develop its bonds market, Dr Abraham Nwankwo, Director-General, Debt Management Officer (DMO), has said. Nwankwo, speaking on Tuesday when he received a South Sudan delegation on a study tour, stressed the need for cooperation among African countries.
He also assured the delegation that Nigeria would assist South Sudan to set up its own Debt Management Office. “This visit has opened a new door for economic cooperation between Nigeria and Sudan, to share our knowledge, experience and also to learn from each other. “We are happy that rather than going to European or industralised Asian countries, you came to Nigeria. This shows the spirit of African solidarity,’’ he said.
Mr Philip Boldit, a member of the delegation and Director-General, Directorate of Macroeconomic Planning, South Sudan, said currently there were no records to establish the debt of his country. “The debt profile of South Sudan was incurred locally through the commercial banks and the Central Bank. This is because we could not borrow internationally due to the insecurity in the country.
“In fact, most of the borrowings were through the Central Bank. The Central Bank is supposed to be the last resort but we abused it. “This resulted in the apex bank printing more money, which meant more money in the market and it caused the devaluation of our currency. “So, we have a very high inflation which can only be brought down when we devise ways to manage our debts properly,’’ he said.
Boldit expressed optimism on the outcome of the study, adding that South Sudan could share from Nigeria’s experience. “We have high expectations. Nigeria and South Sudan have a lot of similarities. We have oil and insecurity as well. “Prior to the discovery of oil, agriculture was the back bone of our economy. But for no reason, we neglected that. Now that oil prices have dropped drastically we regret that decision.
“Nigeria has a lot of experience in this regard and because of these similarities, we hope to apply the Nigerian way to help us manage our debt,’’ he said. The delegation will visit the Central Bank of Nigeria and Ministry of Finance.