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Aftermath of Obaseki’s comment: CBN to go after states for $2.1bn loan recovery

For interpreting the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) bailout as frivolous spending, the apex bank is determined to recover to the Budget Support Facility (BSF) loan it lent to states between 2016 and 2018. President Muhammadu Buhari, in July 2015, approved $2.1 billion intervention package to help bankrupt states to meet up backlog of salary owed workers in addition to clearing contractors’ obligation. The funds were released in tranches to states. CBN, however, insists that a kobo is yet to be paid back by beneficiary states.

Responding yesterday to a recent remark by Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, where he alluded that the Federal Government printed over N60 billion to augment last month’s allocation shared by Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), the CBN governor said government’s support to the economy was not anything extra ordinary, adding that countries all over lend monies to states. According to Emefiele: “If you understand the concept of printing of money, it is about lending money. That is our job. To print is about lending money.

So, there is no need of putting all the controversy about printing of money as if we go into the factory, print the naira and start distributing on the streets. “It is very inappropriate for people to give colouration to printing of money as if it is some foreign words coming from the sky. “So, I think it is important for me to put it this way that in 2016/2017, the kind of situation we found ourselves was even worse. “We did provide a budget support facility to all the states of this country. That loan is still unpaid up till now. We are going to insist on them paying back those monies since they’re accusing us of giving them loans.

“Most countries in the world today are confronted not only by the challenges coming from COVID-19, causing economic crisis and the rest of them. What I keep saying is that it will be irresponsible for the CBN or any other federal reserve to stand idle and refuse to support its government at this time. And what we are doing here is being done in any clime.

“At the last MPC meeting, I gave data on what is being done in other climes to shore up their economy and take them out of reces-consion. “Nigeria is, unfortunately, in a very bad situation, I am not going to pretend about it. We are facing a problem about productivity output, which is GDP. Luckily, we managed from recession, now we are looking at how to get our head above the water.”

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