The Federal Government has described as untrue and sad, comment by Edo state governor Godwin Obaseki that it printed ₦60 billion in March to augment allocation to states.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Zainab Ahmed said this while answering questions from State House correspondents on Wednesday.
Obaseki was quoted as saying at the Edo transition committee stakeholders engagement last week that Nigeria is in huge “financial trouble.”
“When we got FAAC for March, the federal government printed additional N50-N60 billion to top-up for us to share,” he had said.
“This April, we will go to Abuja and share. By the end of this year, our total borrowings is going to be within ₦15-₦16 trillion. Imagine a family that is just borrowing without any means to pay back and nobody is looking at that, everybody is looking at 2023, everybody is blaming Mr. President as if he is a magician.”
Ahmed said Nigeria’s debt is still within sustainable limit and efforts are on to improve revenue generation capacity.
“The issue that was raised by the Edo State Governor for me is very, 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. 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,” she lamented.
“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.”
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria’s total public debt stock as of the third quarter of 2020 (Q3 2020) rose by ₦6.01 trillion within a year.
The agency’s report noted that Nigeria’s total public debt stock constituting of external and domestic debts stood at ₦32.22 trillion ($84.57 billion) as of September 30, 2020.