It is no longer news that the controversy sorrounding the alleged printing of N60 billion by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to support the federal allocation to the three tiers of government for the month of March, 2021 is taking different dimension.
It will be recalled that that Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State had alleged that the Federal Government had to print N60 billion to support allocation for the month of March.
Responding to the claim, Finance Minister, Ahmed said the claim by Obaseki was totally false, insisting that the money being shared monthly at FAAC is revenue generated. “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 a revenue that is generated and in fact, distribution revenue is a public information,” the Minister said
Responding again, Obaseki stood by his earlier claim, accusing the Minister of playing the Ostrich and the federal government of monetary rascality,
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele however placed the colour on the mast by admitting that truly, the CBN printed the said money to help in the area of federal allocation.
The CBN Governor said it was the job of the CBN to print money and lend it to government, condemning the allegation by Obaseki, which he failed to deny, as “unfortunate and totally inappropriate”.
He said: “If you understand the concept of printing of money. The concept printing of money is about lending money.
“That’s our job – to print. It’s about lending money and so there’s no need putting the controversy about printing of money as if we are going into the factory, printing the Naira and start distributing on the streets.
“For us to see some people playing some games, overheating the 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.
“It is very inappropriate for people to just give some colouration 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-19 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.
“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.”
However, some Nigerians are asking is why the finance minister, Zainab Ahmed denied the allegation.
Many believe that I is wrongf forher to deny, because such sensitive issue would be known to the public later
In an interview with an online media platform, Daily Post, Oladele Bello, a banker and economic expert, said that what is happening is obvious, as the current government has tried hard to hide some key issues from Nigerians.
He accused then of planning to hoodwink citizens with untrue reports of performance and dishing out numbers that only exist in their imaginations.
“This is not rocket science, the boat of government was rocked by the revelation by Governor Godwin Obaseki. I can tell you for free that they never expected that the printing of the money will become public knowledge, thereby, rocking the boat of the artificial image of performance and robust economy it had always laid claim to.
“The reality is that Nigeria is not just broke but the economy is already in shambles. Government is not generating enough revenue to keep up with what is needed, and they do not want to admit it. We are indeed in trouble with the insatiable appetite of this administration for loans, with those saddled with running the economy constantly telling us that the nation’s debt is still tolerable. How can the debt profile of a country that uses a huge chunk of its budget to service be tolerable? These people qualify to be called Voodoo economists!”, he said.
In his own words, Akintoba Olaore, a chattered accountant with an audit firm in the Ikeja area of Lagos, said that what the federal government did is indefensible, describing it as financial recklessness that portends greater danger for the nation.
Olaore said: “What government did through the CBN cannot be defended at all. It is better government opens up that the nation is in distress and we all will know what has come upon us. I do not think it is right hiding behind one finger, telling Nigerians all is well when nothing is actually well. That’s deception and it will not help this government or Nigerians.
“As it stands, what government has done is concealing the true position of the national economy from Nigerians. It is just like the management or board of a publicly quoted company concealing the true financial position of the company from shareholders. It is a major corporate infraction that can lead to the sacking of the board. Government needs to urgently give a full disclosure of the true situation of the state of the economy and stop living in denial.
“Also, government officials must know that their offices and positions are held in trust for the Nigerian people and they must be accountable to them at all times. The people are their employers and only them deserve their loyalties.”
Also, reacting to the controversy, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), called for the sacking of the Finance Minister for attempting to cover up the printing of the money.
The major opposition said that the admission by the CBN Governor has vindicated it that the apex bank has been printing the nation’s currency at the behest of the Buhari administration
It further lamented that the APC-led government has been characterized by “concealments, deceit, and falsehood”.
Speaking on behalf of the opposition party, the party’s spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan on Friday: “Indeed, the admission by the CBN governor that “Nigeria is unfortunately in a very bad situation” further justifies our position that the Buhari-led APC administration has wrecked the economy of our nation.
“Our party is worried over the huge negative impact of indiscriminate printing of currency which has led to the unprecedented rise in inflation rate to 18.17% as disclosed by the Federal Bureau of Statistics on Thursday.
“The PDP calls out President Buhari to come clean on the amount that has been printed so far by the CBN to finance the deficit caused by the financial mismanagement of his government as well as what the funds had been used for.
“Furthermore, for failing the full disclosure test, the PDP demands that the Minister of Finance should immediately be relieved of her position, while the President accepts responsibility for the indiscriminate printing of currency in our Naira.
“Our party implores President Buhari to save our nation by allowing better hands to manage and salvage our economy before it is too late.”