There was no truth in the claim made by the Edo governor Godwin Obaseki that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had to print money to meet state allocations, finance minister Zainab Ahmed has said.
Obaseki had claimed that the Muhammadu Buhari government printed between N50 billion and N60 billion for states to share in March at the meeting of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC).
Describing the governor’s claim as very sad, the Ahmed explained that the money being shared monthly at FAAC is revenue generated.
Recall that Obaseki was, last Thursday, quoted as raising the alarm over Nigeria’s financial position which he said made the CBN to print about N60 billion to augment allocation shared by states in March.
“When we got 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,” Obaseki had lamented.
But while answering questions from State House correspondents on Wednesday, the minister said Obaseki’s claim was not factual.
She described revenue distribution as a public information that is available to all.
The minister also faulted the governor on the alarm raised on the country’s borrowings.
She insisted that the nation’s debt profile is still within sustainable limit.
Ahmed said, “The issue that was raised by the Edo State Governor, for me, is very sad because it is not a fact.
“What we distribute at FAAC is a revenue that is generated and in fact, distribution revenue is a 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. It is not true.”
On the issue of borrowing, the minister added, “Nigeria’s debt is still within sustainable limit.
“What we need to do as I have said several times is to improve our revenue to enhance our capacity to service, not only our debt, but to service the needs of running government on day-to-day basis.
“So, our debt currently at about 23% to GDP is at a very sustainable level, if you look at all the reports that you see from multilateral institutions.”