By Joshua Elekwachi, Abuja
The Federal Government has described as untrue and sad, the comment by the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, that it printed N60 billion in March to support federal allocation to states.
It also said despite Obaseki’s worry on the rising debt profile of the country, saying that Nigeria is in ‘huge financial trouble,’ it is not necessary as the country’s debt is still within sustainable limits.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, was reacting to Obaseki’s comment when accosted by State House Correspondents.
The Edo State Governor was quoted as saying at the Edo transition committee stakeholders engagement last week Saturday that, “When we got Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) for March, the federal government printed additional N50billion-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 N15trillion-N16 trillion.”
But the Minister of Finance explained that what is distributed at the monthly FAA meetings were generated revenue from government institutions available to the public at the ministry’s website.
Ahmed 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 of revenue is a public information. We publish revenue generated by Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and we distribute at FAAC.”
According to her, “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 also service the needs of running government on day-to-day basis. “So our debt currently at about 23 percent to GDP is at a very sustainable level, if you look at all the reports that you see from multilateral institutions.”