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PGF faults N60bn Obaseki currency printing claims

  … As it explains FG expenditures

The Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) has faulted the claims of the Governor of Edo State Mr. Godwin Obaseki that the Federal Government printed N60 billion to bridge the shortfall in the distribution of federation revenues to the three tiers of government in March 2021, saying that the claims did not reflect the true position of things.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) governors, however, explained the Federal Government expenditures since 2015 when the present administration took over.

According to them, government had sought for funds from other means when there is a short fall in government revenues and not printing of money.

Faulting Obaseki’s claims, the PGF Chairman and governor of Yobe State, Senator Atiku Bagudu said: “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 government 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. 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, which brought the total distributable revenue to N605.59 billion.

“Federation revenues distributed monthly primarily consist of mineral revenues from the sale of oil and gas, as well as non-mineral revenues from customs and excise duties, company income tax, and value added tax.”

The Progressive Governors admitted that there are periods when the country experiences significant fiscal shocks in federation revenues, but says the shocks are offset by other savings 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 – 2009. As a trained economist who has been a governor since 2016, Mr. Obaseki is aware of all the support states have received from President Muhammadu Buhari in coping with the shocks that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic recession.

“Not only have we received budget support, bail out support to meet salary obligations and infrastructure refunds to all states, this was implemented in the overall public interest without discrimination on the basis of party affiliation. This is why it’s unfortunate and disingenuous to allege preferential treatment of APC states when PDP governed states are even greater beneficiaries of all the support. “

According to the Governors, there was nothing exceptional in this current review of economic orthodoxy, as they quipped, “almost every Central Bank in the world is taking steps to support their government in coping with the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the national economy. This has become the norm rather than the exception as all countries grapple with the deleterious effect of economic recession.”

 

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