APC governors disown Obaseki over allegation of currency printing

APC governors disown Obaseki over allegation of currency printing

The Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) has debunked claims by Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo that the Federal Government printed between N50 billion – N60 billion in March.

The forum in a statement by its chairperson, Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi on Sunday in Abuja, said Mr Obaseki’s claims did not reflect the true position of things.

Mr Obaseki had claimed that the Federal Government printed the amount to bridge the shortfall in the distribution of federation revenues to the three tiers of government in March.

But Mr Bagudu said at first, the impression the forum got was that it was an off-the-record remark made in a private meeting by Mr Obaseki.

He, however, said the forum was shocked to see yet another response from Mr Obaseki to the rebuttal by the Finance Minister, insisting that the March 2021 FAAC was augmented via the printing of currency.

“Given the significance of the statement from a sitting governor and the possible negative impact it has brought to the credibility of both the Federal and State Governments in managing government finances.

“The forum is obliged to put a statement out to set the records clear, and to the best of our knowledge, the total distributable statutory revenue for the month of March 2021 was N596.94 billion,” he said.

Mr Bagudu explained that due to the shortfall in gross statutory revenues by N43.34 billion compared to the previous month, an augmentation was made in the sum of N8.65 billion from the Forex Equalization Fund Account.

He added that this brought the total distributable revenue to N605.59 billion.

He further added that federation revenues distributed monthly primarily consisted of mineral revenues from the sales of oil and gas, as well as non-mineral revenues from customs and excise duties, company income tax and value added tax.

He, however, admitted that there were periods when the country experienced significant fiscal shocks in federation revenues, but said the shocks were offset by other savings.

These, the PGF chair said, were serviced from the federation account, including distributions from the domestic excess crude proceeds and the foreign excess crude savings account.

“These payments started since 2008 when the country first experienced fiscal shocks from the fallouts of the global financial crisis of 2008 to 2009.

“As a trained economist who has been a governor since 2016, Obaseki is aware of all the support states have received from President Muhammadu Buhari,” he said.

This, he noted, was especially in coping with the shocks that had resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant economic recession.

He added that not only had states received budget support from the Federal Government, but they had also received bail-out support to meet salary obligations and infrastructure refunds.

He said this was implemented in the overall interest of Nigerians without discrimination on the basis of party affiliation.

“This is why it’s unfortunate and disingenuous to allege preferential treatment of APC states when Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governed states are even greater beneficiaries of all the support,” the PGF chair said.