The federal government has dismissed as “false and sad” the remarks by Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) printed about N60 billion (Ways and Means) to augment the amount distributed to states in March 2021.
Obaseki was quoted as saying at the Edo transition committee stakeholders engagement last week Saturday that, “When we got Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) for March, the federal government printed additional N50-N60 billion to top-up for us to share.
“This April, we will go to Abuja and share. By the end of this year, our total borrowings are going to be within N15-N16 trillion.”
But the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, while reacting to Obaseki’s comment when she fielded questions from State House reporters, denounced the statement.
She also defended the government’s borrowings despite the concern expressed by Obaseki on the rising debt profile when he said Nigeria is in ‘huge financial trouble’.
The minister, who said what was distributed at the monthly FAAC meetings were generated revenue from government institutions available to the public at the ministry’s website added that the country’s debt is still within sustainable limits.
She said: “The issue that was raised by the Edo State governor for me is very, very sad. Because it is not a fact. What we distribute at FAAC is revenue that is generated and in fact distribution revenue is public information. We publish revenue generated by FIRS, the customs and the NNPC and we distribute at FAAC.
“So, it is not true to say we printed money to distribute at FAAC.”
On the issue of the borrowing, the minister said: “the Nigerian debt is still within the sustainable limit. So, our debt currently at about 23 percent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is at a very sustainable level.”
Daily Trust reports that experts had cautioned FG to exercise restraint over the use of Ways and Means in meeting the financial needs of the nation, to avoid hyperinflation and other consequences for a country struck with the COVID-19 pandemic and is just exiting recession.
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