Posted by By Matthew Cowley, Dow Jones Newswires on
Nigeria will buy back all of its overseas debt by end May, central bank Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo said Sunday.
SINGAPORE -(Dow Jones)- Nigeria will buy back all of its overseas debt by end May, central bank Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo said Sunday.
Soludo was speaking at a seminar on the sidelines of a gathering of member countries of the International Monetary Fund here.
"We want to pay it all off," he said.
A statement by credit ratings firm Fitch Ratings in January said Nigeria had around $5.1 billion of overseas debt outstanding, including $1.4 billion of so- called "Brady" bonds and $2.9 billion owed to multilateral institutions.
The Nigerian government recently said it plans to appoint legal advisors to negotiate the repayment of $2.4 billion in debt to the London Club, according to a report earlier this week in the country's This Day newspaper.
Nigeria is benefitting from windfall revenues from sky-high oil prices.
But the government is also seeing a boom in the local debt markets, with demand from local pension funds and overseas investors, Soludo said.
The central bank will issue about $6 billion in debt in the local market this year, primarily to mop up excess liquidity, Soludo said.
So far, most of the debt offerings have been heavily over-subscribed, he said.
The country's debt market has benefitted from the assigning in February of Nigeria's first sovereign ratings, Soludo said.
Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor's Ratings Services have both given Nigeria a speculative double-B-minus grade.
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