Why Is the Nigerian Government Building Two High-End Office Towers?

Turns out it needs new digs for the agency that manages its $65 billion of debt. Money fight!

When it comes to debt, the Nigerian government has a boat load. It is more in hock than any other African country.

But that’s not stopping it from doing a little shopping for some high-end real estate. The lucky occupant for the lavish new digs? Nigeria’s Debt Management Office, which oversees the country’s $65 billion in public debt.

According to an ad in The Economist, Nigeria is looking for two “world-class,” 20-floor office towers in the capital of Abuja, totaling some 42,000 square meters. That’s equivalent (in square footage) to the tallest skyscraper in Providence, Rhode Island.

Just the land alone for the office towers in Abuja goes for about $2.3 million, according to a listing on a Nigerian property website. (The full-page, black-and-white, inside-rear-cover ad in The Economist costs about $60,000.)

When it’s not building office new towers, the Debt Management Office tries to reduce Nigeria’s debt, and the cost of servicing it. Nigeria’s total public debt, of more than $65 billion, is equal to almost 20 percent of its GDP. Meanwhile, the average monthly salary in Nigeria is about $3,269.

We emailed the Debt Management Office to find out how the property search is going, and will update the story if we hear back.

So why does the Debt Management Office needs so much prime real estate? According to the ad, “The objective of the project is to give the DMO a befitting working environment, vibrant image and increase its visibility both to the local and foreign stakeholders with which it relates on a daily basis.”

Of course: You certainly wouldn’t want those stakeholders to come in and think that, well, you’re running a debt management office.

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