The Federal Government on Wedesday countered an allegation made by the Governor of Edo State Godwin Obaseki that it printed N60bn to augment March allocation to States.
It described the allegation by Obaseki as untrue because it was not based on fact.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said during a chat with journalists after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting that the claim by the Governor was false.
The Edo State governor had while speaking at the Edo Transition Committee Stakeholders’ Engagement claimed the Federation Account Allocation Committee, to be able to meet the revenue sharing to states for the month of March, had to print about N60bn more cash.
He had, during the same event, alleged that the Federal Government had been borrowing without a sustainable plan to sort out the nation’s debt load.
“The current price of crude oil is only a mirage. The major oil companies who are the ones producing are no longer investing much in oil. Shell is pulling out of Nigeria and Chevron is now one of the world’s largest investors in alternative fuel, so in another year or so, where will we find this money that we go to share in Abuja? “When we got FAAC for March, the federal government printed additional N50-N60 billion to top-up for us to share,” he said.
But Ahmed deflated Obaseki’s claims saying, “The issue that has been raised by the Edo State Governor, for me, is very sad because it is not in a fact. What we distribute at FAAC is a revenue that is generated and in fact distribution revenue is a public information, we publish it.
“So it’s revenue generated by the FIRS, the Customs and the NNPC, that we distribute at FAAC. So it is not true to say we printed money to distribute at FAAC, it is not true,” she stressed.
Speaking to the issue of borrowing without a repayment plan, Ahmed said the nation’s debt profile remains within manageable realms, saying the plan for the country is basically to improve its revenue generation to take care of both debt servicing and running of government.
“On the issue of the borrowing, the Nigerian debt is still within sustainable limits. 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 obligations, 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. You can look at all the reports that you see from multilateral institutions, those facts are stated,” she said.