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More controversy over printing of N60b for March allocation

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  • Emefiele: It’s CBN’s job to print money

  • PDP, APC clash over Obaseki’s allegation

The controversy over the alleged printing of N60 billion by the federal government to augment the March allocation to the three tiers of government raged further on Friday with Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele saying money printing is the responsibility of the apex bank.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) joined the fray and slammed the federal government for initially denying the claim by Governor Godwin Obaseki about printing money.

The PDP said the admission by the CBN Governor has vindicated its (PDP’s) earlier stand that the present administration is “characterised by concealments, deceit and falsehood.”

“The concept of printing of money is about lending money and that is our job,” Emefiele tweeted on Friday.

He added: “It will be irresponsible for the CBN or any Central Bank or Fed to stand idle and refuse to support its government at a time like this.”

That was 24 hours after Emefiele told reporters during a visit to Nasarawa State that “the concept of printing of money… is about lending money.”

He said: “It is important for me to put it this way that in 2015/2016 … we did provide budget support facility for all the states of the country.

“That loan remains unpaid till now and we are going to insist on the states paying back those monies going forward, since they are accusing us of giving them loans – effectively that’s what they are saying.

“If you understand the concept of printing of money, it is about lending money. There is no need for all the controversy around the printing of money as if we are going into the factory, printing naira, and then distributing (it) on the streets.

“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.”

PDP demands Finance Minister’s sack

Responding to the statement by Emefiele yesterday, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) demanded the immediate sack of Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed.

The party, in a statement issued by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, slammed the Finance Minister for initially denying the printing of any N60 billion.

The PDP said the admission by the CBN Governor that the apex bank has been printing money at the bidding of government was a vindication of  its earlier stand that the present administration is characterised by concealments, deceit and falsehood.

It said: “A situation where the Federal Government cannot articulate and implement policies favourable to wealth creation but resorting to borrowing and indiscriminate printing of currency notes only goes to further confirm that the Buhari administration lacks the credibility and capacity to run a nation.

“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.”

The party expressed worries over the huge negative impact of indiscriminate printing of currency, which has led to an unprecedented rise in inflation rate to 18.17 per cent, as disclosed by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Thursday.

It noted that the situation has led to further economic hardship with surging prices and falling purchasing power, which has thrown millions of families in distress and unable to afford the basic necessities of life.

It charged President Buhari to come clean on the amount of currency 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,” it said.

Edo PDP, APC chairmen clash over Obaseki’s allegation

The Edo State Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Tony Aziegbemi, and his counterpart of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Col. David Imuse (rtd.), also had their say on the matter yesterday.

Aziegbemi, who holds a doctorate in Economics, aligned with Governor Obaseki, saying: “Nigeria has always depended on crude oil’s revenue, but at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the price per barrel of crude oil crashed to $12, but now rising.

“For how long shall we continue to depend on the uncertain prices of crude oil in the International market? The government’s revenue is fluctuating, thereby making it difficult to plan.

“Our people should think. We cannot continue this way, of putting our hope in crude oil. We are in trouble as far as Nigeria’s economy is concerned.

“Nigeria’s budget is being financed through deficit financing, which involves borrowings and printing of money.

“Governor Obaseki sounded a wake-up call for all Nigerians. He spoke the truth, for the right things to be done by persons at the helm of affairs in Abuja.”

Imuse on his part dismissed Obaseki’s claim as spurious, alarmist, untrue and wicked.

He also described as laughable, unwarranted and unfounded, Edo governor’s claim that Nigeria’s economic situation was more critical now, because of the huge amount borrowed to service it, declaring that the situation was a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

He said: “The true position is that under Obaseki’s watch, the economy of Edo State is in dire straits, with Edo governor being bereft of ideas about how to get it out, with a foreign debt of $300 million and a domestic debt including loans from commercial banks, the capital market, and other doubtful sources approaching N120 billion as at March this year, for non-existent projects.

“In the past seven months, Obaseki has plunged Edo State into higher debts by taking more loans which have seen a 67 per cent increase in its debt profile. Edo state under Obaseki has overtaken Rivers State as the state with the highest foreign and domestic debt in the Southsouth zone, and it is on a steady course to displace Lagos as Nigeria’s most indebted state.”

Edo APC chairman also stated that the state was now spending more money to service debts than on education, healthcare and infrastructure, without a state cabinet and an aged public service, whereas other states were working assiduously at reducing the debt burden on their citizens.

He declared that Obaseki was now holding tenaciously to straws by personalising his criticisms of the Nigerian government while asking him not to hide under the title of investment banker to earn cheap fame.

Imuse insisted that since 2015 when APC came on the scene, Nigeria had been on the path of progress and things were definitely much better than how the leaders of the main opposition PDP left it.

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