The Federal Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed has described the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki as a liar over his claim that the Federal Government printed N60 billion in March to support federal allocation to states.
Zainab Ahmed, who answered reporters’ questions, said that Obaseki’s worry on the rising debt profile of the country, against the backdrop of what he called ‘huge financial trouble’, is not necessary as the country’s debt is still within sustainable limits.
The Edo Governor 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 explained that what is distributed at the monthly Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meetings were generated revenue from government institutions available to the public at the ministry’s website.
“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.”