Edo State Governor, South-South, Nigeria, Godwin Obaseki has asked the federal government to stop playing the ostrich.
The federal government of Nigeria had earlier dismissed the comments made by Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, South south, Nigeria, that N60 billion was printed to augment the amount distributed to states in March 2021.
Obaseki while at the Edo transition committee stakeholders engagement had said the money was shared at the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting.
He said: “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.”
But the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, denied Obaseki’s comment, She also defended the government’s borrowings despite the concern expressed by Obaseki on the rising debt profile which he said Nigeria is in ‘huge financial trouble’.
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 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 the borrowing, the Nigerian 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.”
Obaseki in a statement personally signed by him said: While we do not want to join issues with the Federal Ministry of Finance, we believe it is our duty to offer useful advice for the benefit of our country.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed should rally Nigerians to stem the obvious fiscal slide facing our country.
“Rather than play the Ostrich, we urge the government to take urgent steps to end the current monetary rascality, so as to prevent the prevailing economic challenge from degenerating further.
“We believe it is imperative to approach the Nigerian project with all sense of responsibility and commitment and not play to the gallery because ultimately, time shall be the judge of us all.”