Obaseki’s claim on printing of N60b untrue, says minister

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Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has said there is no iota of truth in the claim made by the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, that the Central Bank of Nigeria had to print between N50billion and N60billion for states to share in March at the meeting of the Federation Account Allocation Committee.

Ahmed, who described Obaseki’s claim as sad, stressed that the money shared monthly at FAAC is revenue generated and not through any other means.

The minister said this in reaction to the alarm raised by Obaseki last week that the country is tottering on the brink of financial crisis buttressing his point with the claim that the CBN to print about N60billion 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 over the weekend.

But while answering questions from State House correspondents today, 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.”

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