Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has accused Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, of playing politics with the claim that the Federal Government printed N60 billion to share to states last month.
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Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had earlier dismissed the claim by the governor.
But Obaseki insisted on his position, calling on the federal government to stop the current monetary rascality.
Speaking with journalists on Thursday, Emefiele described Obaseki’s comment as “unfortunate and totally inappropriate”.
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The apex bank governor, who did not deny the claim by Obaseki, said the move was simply lending to state governments by the CBN.
He noted that the federal government had disbursed loans to states to manage the economic difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If you understand the concept of printing of money, it is about lending money. There is no need for all the controversy around money printing as if we are going into the factory to print naira and then distribute on the streets,” he said.
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“It is very inappropriate for people to just give some coloration to the word ‘printing of money’ as if it is a foreign word coming from the sky.
“In 2015/2016, we were in a similar [fiscal] situation, but it is far worse today. We provided budget support facility to all the states of the country and that loan remains unpaid till now. We are going to insist on the states paying the loan back since they are effectively accusing us of giving them loans.
“Most countries of the world today are confronted by not just the health crisis from the COVID pandemic but also economic crisis. I keep saying this: it would be irresponsible of the central bank of Nigeria or any central bank to stand idle and refuse to support its government at this time. Whatever we do in Nigeria is being done in any clime.
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“Nigeria is unfortunately in a very bad situation and we cannot pretend about it in the sense that we are facing problems about productivity output which is gross domestic product (GDP). We are working very hard to see how we can get our heads above water. We are also concerned with issues of inflation.
“For us to see some people playing some games, overheating his polity talking about printing of money, I think it is unfortunate and totally inappropriate. I would like to advise that this should stop. We should all work for the growth of our country and not play politics.”