Printed N60b: Wike wades in, backs Obaseki

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Following his statement that Federal government printed about N50-N60 billion, the governor of Rivers state, Nyesom Wike, Sunday threw his weight behind the Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki, noting that Obaseki understands the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.

Disclosing this while fielding questions from journalists in Abuja on Sunday, Wike opined: “Obaseki was in APC, so he understands them. So, Obaseki couldn’t have come from the blues to say they printed N60 billion. He knows them,”

Recall that Obaseki had during the state transition committee stakeholders’ engagement in Edo, averred that Nigeria was in huge financial trouble.

He noted that: “Nigeria has changed. The economy of Nigeria is not the same again whether we like it or not. Since the civil war, we have been managing, saying money is not our problem as long as we are pumping crude oil every day.

“So we have run a very strange economy and strange presidential system where the local, state and federal government, at the end of the month, go and earn salary. We are the only country in the world that does that.

“Everywhere else, governments rely on the people to produce taxes and that is what they use to run the local government, state, and the federation. “But with the way we run Nigeria, the country can go to sleep. At the end of the month, we just go to Abuja, collect money and we come back to spend. We are in trouble, huge financial trouble.

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However, challenging his submission, the Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed said it was sad for Obaseki to take such a position.

According to her: “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 revenue that is generated and in fact distribution revenue is 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. “

On the issue of borrowing, the Nigerian debt is still within a sustainable limit. What we need to do as I have said several times is to improve our revenue to enhance our capacity to service not only our debt but to service the needs of running the government on day to day basis.

“So our debt currently at about 23% to GDP is at a very sustainable level. If you look at all the reports that you see from multilateral institutions.”

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