A member of the House of Representatives, Rep. Kingsley Chinda, has described the decision of the federal government to print currency notes to the tune of N60bn as exposed by the governor of Edo state, Godwin Obaseki, as akin to the economic policies of the late Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin.
It would be recalled that the bubble bursted when governor Obaseki of Edo state disclosed how about N60bn was printed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to augment revenue shortfall for the Federation Account and Allocation Committee (FAAC), in the month of March.
Obaseki had said that, “When we got FAAC for March, the federal government printed additional N50-N60 billion to top-up for us to share. This April, we will go to Abuja and share. By the end of this year, our total borrowings are going to be within N15-N16 trillion”.
FAAC is the committee which presides over the nation’s revenue distribution among the three tiers of government. An arrangement the Edo state governor seriously criticized, saying that the practice of going to Abuja every month to share money has bred laziness among the lower tiers such as states and local governments in Nigeria.
But reacting to Obaseki’s revelation, the Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed had denied the allegation that money was printed and shared at FAAC in March.
She said: “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”.
Meanwhile, in his defence of the alleged act, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele contradicted the Finance Minister, saying that the bank printed money to bail government out of a financial difficulty, an intervention he said was a normal practice globally.
“Most countries in the world are confronted by health challenges coming from the pandemic, economic crisis and the rest of them. It will be irresponsible for the central bank of Nigeria or any central bank or any Fed to stand idle and refuse to support its government at this time.
“What is being done is being done in any clime. Nigeria is unfortunately in a very bad situation. I’m not going to pretend about it, in the sense that we are facing problems about productivity output which is GDP, we are also confronted with issues of inflation and prices and the rest of them,” he added.
However, Hon. Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers), said the APC administration has broken the records of all known absurdities, particularly its handling of the economy.
According to him, “This government is fond of reprobating and approbating: They are full of paradoxes: They are consistently inconsistent in policies, actions and words: They are irresponsive to the yearnings of the people and in totality an irresponsible government.
“It was under rulers like Idi Amin that we heard of such lame, cripple and ignoramus economic policies, where a government prints its currency at will.
“Am not surprised because under Buhari, anything goes and nothing happens. Nigerians have shown their limitless level of gullibility under this government.
“The Federal government should apologise to Gov. Obaseki and hide their heads in shame for once again trying to deceive Nigerians.
“It is clearly unlawful for CBN to unilaterally and capriciously print currency at will for any reason whatsoever. It is not supported by our laws. This is another pointer to the fact that our economy has collapsed and is standing on one of the three legs and ready to crumble any moment.
“Some of the consequences is galloping inflation, which is at its highest level ever and likely to get worse as the value of Naira plummet by the deliberate action of government continues to nose dive.
“Government is living in self denial, the unfortunate thing is that the masses will bear the brunt of government’s ineptitude and recklessness,” Chinda said.
He added that “in a sane clime, the Minister of Finance and CBN Governor ought to resign without any more prompting but as is usual of Nigeria today, they will rather be promoted.”