The Debt Management Office announced on its website on Thursday that it won three awards at the EMEA Finance Achievement Awards 2022.
Amid the ballooning debt profile in the country, the DMO was awarded the Best Sovereign Borrower of 2022.
According to Corporate Finance Institute, “Sovereign debt is the government debt of a country, a sovereign nation. It is also referred to as government debt, national debt, public debt, or country debt. The sovereign debt of a country consists of all its debt liabilities to both domestic and foreign creditors.”
Other awards won by the DMO included Best Sovereign Bond in EMEA for Nigeria’s $4bn triple-tranche Eurobond issuance and Best Local Currency Bond in EMEA for the Federal Government of Nigeria N250bn SUKUK.
These awards occurred amid rising debt and downgraded ratings by credit rating agencies, such as Moody’s and Fitch.
Earlier this year, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Nigeria’s rating further as the global credit ratings agency expected the government’s fiscal and debt positions to worsen as the government grapples with fiscal strain.
As the country’s capacity to weather the storm remains eroded by institutional vulnerabilities and social challenges, the agency rated the country a level lower at Caa1, sinking Nigeria deeper into its non-investment grade from the country’s previous and worrisome rating of B3.
October last year, the rating agency downgraded Nigeria’s local currency and foreign currency long-term issuer ratings as well as its foreign currency senior unsecured debt ratings to B3 from B2 and placed them on review for downgrade.
Also, Fitch, in November last year, lowered Nigeria’s rating by one level at B-, placing it six notches above default and at par with Angola and Ecuador.
Fitch, a renowned global rating agency, said the downgrade was due to government debt service costs and worsening external liquidity, despite higher crude prices in 2022, amongst others.
The former Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Ahmed, had condemned the downgrades of Nigeria by credit rating agencies.
She noted that those downgrades were based on factors beyond the country’s control and could affect the country’s ability to borrow from the international market.