Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has said he will not want to join issues with the Federal Ministry of Finance, over its recent rebuttal of his statements alleging that the Federal Government printed over fifty billion naira to settle the monthly allocation to state governments in March this year.
Obaseki however said it is his duty and that of others of his ilk, to offer useful advice for the benefit of the country.
The Edo State Governor, had last week at the Edo transition committee stakeholders engagement said the Federal Government printed additional N50-N60 billion to top-up for state and local governments, to share for the federal allocation for March.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed had on Wednesday, lashed back at the Governor Obaseki, claiming that contrary to his position, revenue shared at the Federation Account meeting are generated income.
Debunking that the Federal Government has plunged the state into huge debt, the Minister stressed that the nation’s debt profile is still within viable threshold.
But in a statement on Thursday, Obaseki maintained his grounds, saying the Minister of Finance should rally Nigerians to stem the obvious fiscal slide facing the country.
“Rather than play the Ostrich, we urge the government to take urgent steps 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 not play to the gallery because ultimately, time shall be the judge of us all,” Obaseki pointed out.
Figures from the Debt Management Office had earlier this year, shown that Nigeria’s public debt was at a total of N32.2tn at the end of September 2020, implying that the nation’s debt profile rose by N1.19tn between the second and third quarters of 2020.
In a breakdown provided by the DMO on its website, the Federal Government’s total debt stood at N28tn as of September while the debt of the states and the Federal Capital Territory stood at N4.19tn.
Further breakdown shows that the domestic debt is N20tn or 62.18 per cent of the total debt while foreign debt is 37.82 per cent.
It will be recalled that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had in December, 2020, said that Nigeria’s total public debt may rise further by N6tn, hitting N38.68tn by December 2021.