The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has urged the Federal Government to take urgent steps to end the current monetary rascality, so as to prevent the prevailing economic challenge from degenerating further.
Obaseki, who has come under fire for saying that the Federal Government printed N60bn to share as part of federal allocation in March, in a statement he signed on Thursday, said it was time to stop playing the ostrich and approach the Nigerian project with all sense of responsibility and commitment.
Obaseki said this as the Central Bank of Nigeria faulted the Edo State governor’s claim that it printed N60bn in March for the Federal Government.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, had faulted Obaseki on Wednesday.
In an interview with State House correspondents, the minister described Obaseki’s claim as untrue.
But the governor on Thursday insisted on his position.
He stated, “We believe it is our duty to offer useful advice for the benefit of our country.
“The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed should rally Nigerians to stem the obvious fiscal slide facing our country.
“Rather than play the ostrich, we urge the government to take the urgent step to end the current monetary rascality, so as to prevent the prevailing economic challenge from degenerating further.
“We believe it is imperative to approach the Nigerian project with all sense of responsibility and commitment and no play to the gallery because ultimately, time shall be the judge of us all,” he added.
CBN dismisses Obaseki’s claim, to restrict forex for sugar, wheat
But the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, on Thursday dismissed the claims that the apex bank printed N60bn to augment the March 2021 disbursements of the Federation Account Allocation Committee.
He also announced that the apex bank was working to include sugar and wheat on the list of commodities that would be restricted from accessing foreign exchange.
Speaking in Nasarawa State during an inspection tour of the proposed $500m Dangote sugar processing facility, Emefiele said, “If you understand the concept of printing of money, it is about lending money. That is our job. To print is about lending money.
“So, there is no need of putting all the controversy about printing of money as if we go into the factory, print the naira and start distributing on the streets.
“It is very inappropriate for people to give colouration to printing of money as if it is some foreign words coming from the sky.
“It’s important for me to put it this way that in 2015/16, the kind of situation we found ourselves in, we did provide a budget support facility to all the states of this country.
“That loan is still unpaid up till now. We are going to insist on them paying back the money since they are accusing us of giving them loans.”
On forex restriction for selected commodities, he said, “We are looking at sugar and wheat. We started a programme on milk about two years ago, eventually, these products will go into our forex restriction list.”
He said the CBN’s decision to include sugar and wheat on the forex restriction list was because the country spends $600m to $1bn importing sugar annually.
The Chairman, Caretaker Committee of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Edo State, Col David Imuse, (retd.), chided the state governor.
Imuse in a statement by the Edo APC Assistant Publicity Secretary, Victor Osehobo also described as laughable, unwarranted and unfounded claims, credited to Obaseki last week.
He said: “The true position is that under Governor Obaseki’s watch, the economy of Edo State is in dire straits with the governor bereft of ideas about how to get it out, with a foreign debt of $300m and a domestic debt including loans from commercial banks, the capital market, and other doubtful sources, approaching N120bn as at March this year, for non-existent projects.”
A member of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council, Mr Bismark Rewane, said Ahmed and Obaseki, might not be wrong on the allegation of the printout of N60bn in March.
Rewane, while featuring on a Channels TV programme, ‘Politics Today’ on Thursday said the difference between what the governor and the minister were saying was like trying to differentiate between six and half a dozen..”