The Federal Government has debunked the claim by Godwin Obaseki, Governor of Edo State, that it printed an additional N60 billion to pay the federal allocation to states for March.
Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, provided the government’s response on Wednesday.
Governor Obaseki had last week at the Edo transition committee stakeholders engagement said “the Federal Government printed additional N50-N60 billion to top-up” for state and local governments to share for the federal allocation for March.
But responding to questions from State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday, Ahmed described the Edo Governor’s claim as “sad” and not factual.
According to the minister, monies distributed at Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) are revenues generated from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigeria Customs, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), adding that revenue distribution information can be publicly accessed.
She said: “The issue that was raised by the Edo State Governor, for me, is very sad because it is not a fact.
“What we distribute at FAAC is revenue that is generated and in fact, distribution revenue is 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 Nigeria’s debt, Ahmed said is still within sustainable limit, noting that efforts are ongoing to improve the country’s revenue generation capacity.
Governor Obaseki had last week also raised an alarm over the country’s rising debt profile, saying the situation is more critical now because of the huge amount borrowed to service the ailing economy.
The minister, however, maintained that the nation’s debt profile, which currently stands at 23 per cent of the total GDP, is at sustainable levels.
“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 said.