The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, may have proved Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State right on his revelation that the federal government printed about N50 billion to N60 billion to augment the last federal allocation shared between the levels of government. The admission of the CBN governor of printing money and lending to government, hypothetically, indicated that the Minister of Finance might have lied when she said Obaseki’s revelation was false.
Emefiele, however, was not happy the way Governor Obaseki revealed the issue to the public.
Governor Obaseki had in Benin City decried Nigeria’s rising debt profile, amidst draining revenue, decrying that the CBN printed additional N50 billion to N60 billion to augment federal allocations states.
The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, said that Governor Obaseki’s revelation was very sad and untrue. She had said that monies distributed at Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) are revenues generated from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigeria Customs, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). She insisted that revenue distribution is information that can be publicly accessed.
However, Emefiele, in a media interaction in Tunga, Awe Local Government Area, Nasarawa State, acknowledged that printing of money is a key mandate of the central bank. He mainlined that the bank has a duty to support the government in times of financial difficulties.
The CBN governor argued that it is “unfortunate and totally inappropriate” for anybody to create controversy over the practice.
“If you understand the concept of printing money. The concept of printing of money is about lending money. That is our job – print money. So, there is no need to put controversy about the printing of money as if we are going into the factory, printing naira and distributing on the streets.
“In 2015/2016, we were in a similar situation, but it is far worse today. “We provided a budget support facility to all the states of the country and that loan remains unpaid till now. We are going to insist on the states paying the loan back since they are effectively accusing us of giving them loans.
“Most countries of the world today are confronted by not just the health crisis from the COVID pandemic but also economic crisis. I keep saying this: it would be irresponsible of the Central Bank of Nigeria or any central bank to stand idle and refuse to support its government at this time. Whatever we do in Nigeria is being done in any clime.”
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