The National Economic Council (NEC) has defended the stance of Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, that no N60 billion was printed to augment the federal allocation to states for the month of March.
This was disclosed in a statement issued by Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity after the NEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday.
Ahmed had earlier debunked a claim by Godwin Obaseki, Governor of Edo State, that the Federal Government printed between N50 billion and N60 billion for the states, fuelling concerns over the government’s management of the economy at a time of rising inflation.
But Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said the government did not print money and “distribute on the streets”, but was “lending” the government.
However, the NEC at its meeting with Osinbajo, the state governors and CBN Governors – who are members – insisted the government did not print money.
The statement read: “Having received presentations from the Minister of Finance, the Central Bank Governor, and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), the National Economic Council (NEC) has affirmed that there was no printing of N60 billion or any other amount whatsoever to shore up allocation for the month of March as wrongly insinuated recently in the press.
“The Council expressed satisfaction with clarifications made by the NGF represented by its Chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Finance Minister, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed and the Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele on the alleged printing of N60 billion by the Federal Government.
“Both the Minister and the CBN Governor stated to the Council that the allegation of the printing of money to augment allocation was outrightly false. The NGF also supported the conclusion and NEC affirmed same as the highest constitutional body tasked with economic affairs in the country.”