The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has denied a claim by Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, that the Federal Government printed N60 billion in March to support allocation to states.
KanyiDaily recalls that Governor Obaseki had alleged that the federal government printed extra N60 billion for states to share in March because Nigeria is in huge financial trouble.
The Governor expressed worry over the country’s increased borrowing, saying it was wrong to continue borrowing without a tangible plan for debt repayment.
“You are just borrowing, borrowing and borrowing without any means or idea of how to pay back. When we got FAAC for March, the federal government printed additional N50-N60 billion to top-up for us to share.
“This April again, we will go to Abuja and share. By the end of this year, our total borrowings is going to be within N15-N16 trillion.
“Imagine a family that is just borrowing without any means to pay back and nobody is looking at that, everybody is looking at 2023, everybody is blaming Mr. President as if he is a magician.”
However, while answering questions from state house correspondents on Wednesday, Zainab said Governor Obaseki’s claim was very sad because it was “untrue”.
The Finance Minister said Nigeria’s debt is still within sustainable limit and efforts are on to improve revenue generation capacity.
“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,” she said.
Speaking to the issue of borrowing without a repayment plan, Mrs. Ahmed said the nation’s debt profile remains within manageable realms.
She said the plan for the country is basically to improve its revenue generation in order to take care of both debt servicing and running of government.
“On the issue of the borrowing, the Nigerian debt is still within sustainable limits. 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 obligations, but to service the needs of running government on day to day basis.
“So our debt, currently at about 23 per cent to GDP, is at a very sustainable level. You can look at all the reports that you see from multilateral institutions, those facts are stated”, she added.
Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has also reacted to the allegation by Governor Obaseki that the Federal Government printed billions of naira last month to cushion its financial trouble.