Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, has revealed that the Federal Government rejected a request by the state governors for it to borrow from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to supplement the federal allocation shortfall for the month of March.
Ahmed made the disclosure in an interview on Monday following the claim made by Godwin Obaseki, Governor of Edo State
Governor Obaseki had at the Edo Transition Committee Stakeholders Engagement two weeks ago stated that the Federal Government printed N50-N60 billion to augment the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) to the states for March.
The disclosure has led to a heated debate about the state of the country’s economy, with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leading the ideological sparring.
Also speaking on the issue, Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), accused Governor Obaseki of playing politics, noting that the move was the CBN simply lending to state governments.
But making clarification on the situation, Ahmed explained that the Federal Government takes money from some reserve accounts whenever there is a shortfall in revenue, but noted that in the case of March allocation which fell by N50 billion, all state governments were asked to manage their resources.
She described Governor Obaseki’s comment as “surprising” and “unfortunate”, insisting that his comment was contrary to what truly transpired at the FAAC meeting.
“It is a difficult time, I can explain to you how difficult it is not just for the federal government but also for the states, we see increasing reduction in our FAAC revenue,” Ahmed said on the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA)’s breakfast show, Good Morning Nigeria.
“In the month of March, we had a shortfall of FAAC that is almost about N50 billion and we did not have enough accrued in any of those accounts, the states to be honest wanted us to borrow from the Central Bank, but we resisted, we just told everybody to go back to live within what they had.
“So it was very surprising for us when we heard a sitting governor saying that CBN has printed money for FAAC, that was very unfortunate because it is not true.”