From Iduozee Paul, Benin
Governor Godwin Obaseki
Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, has cautioned the federal government to face the economic realities and stop the present monetary rascality in Nigeria.
The governor in his Twitter handle titled, “Our advice is that we stop playing the Ostrich”, said the government should take urgent steps to prevent the Nigerian economy from total collapsing.
“Rather than playing ostrich, we urge the government to take urgent steps to end the current monetary rascality, so as to prevent the prevailing economic challenge from degenerating further”, Obaseki twittered.
Recall that the Edo governor was quoted as saying at the Edo transition committee stakeholders engagement last week 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.”
Responding to this disclosure, the minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed asserted 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 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,” she added.
Reacting to the minister’s statements, Governor Obaseki, a seasoned banker, advised her to rally Nigerians to stem the obvious fiscal slide facing our country just as he said he did not want to join issues with the federal ministry of Finance.
“While we do not want to join issues with the federal ministry of Finance, we believe it is our duty to offer useful advice for the benefit of our country.
“We believe it is imperative to approach the Nigerian project with all sense of responsibility and commitment and not to play to the gallery because ultimately, time shall be the judge of us all,”Obaseki stressed.
According to the most recent record available from the country’s debt management office, as at December 2020, our debt burden stands at N42.9trillion ($86.30billion).