By Jonathan Nda-Isaiah
The Federal Government has denied comments by the Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, that Nigeria was in “huge financial trouble” and that government printed N60billion in March to support federal allocations to states.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, who disclosed this to State House correspondents on Wednesday after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, insisted that the country’s debt was still within sustainable limits.
LEADERSHIP recall that the Edo governor was quoted at the weekend as saying 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.”
Governor Obaseki spoke at the Edo State transition committee stakeholders engagement on Saturday.
But the Finance Minister explained that what is distributed at the monthly Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meetings are generated revenues from government institutions available to the public at the ministry’s website.
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 recoup 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.”