The Federal Government has dismissed as “false and sad” the remarks by Edo state Governor Godwin Obaseki that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) printed about N60 billion to augment the amount distributed to states in March 2021 by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC).
Obaseki was quoted as saying at the Edo transition committee stakeholders engagement last week Saturday that, “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, while reacting to Obaseki’s comment when quizzed by State House reporters, denounced the statement.
She also defended the government’s borrowings despite the concern expressed by Obaseki on the rising debt profile when he said Nigeria is in ‘huge financial trouble’.
The minister, who said what is distributed at the monthly FAAC meetings were generated revenue from government institutions available to the public at the ministry’s website, added that the country’s debt is still within sustainable limits.
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.”