THE Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) has flayed Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State on his currency printing claims brought against the Federal Government.
National Oracle Magazine reported earlier that Ahmed Zainab, Honourable Minister of Finance and National Planning had debunked as false, claims by Governor Obaseki that the federal government printed N60 billion as part of federal allocation for March 2021.
Obaseki claimed that the Federal Government did that to bridge the shortfall in the distribution of federation revenues to the three levels of government.
The Progressive Governors Forum, in a statement signed by its Chairman, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, on Friday, said the claims by Obaseki did not reflect the true position of the state of things.
The forum said at first, the impression it got was that it was an impromptu remark made in a private meeting, but “we were however shocked to see yet another response from our colleague to the rebuttal by the HM Finance insisting that the March 2021 FAAC was augmented via the printing of money.”
The Forum said further, “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 Forum admitted that there are periods when the country experiences significant fiscal shocks in federation revenues, but these 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 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,” the Forum said.
The Forum further said that “there was nothing exceptional in this current review of economic orthodoxy”, it said this was because “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.”
Continuing, the Forum said “This unfortunate and inaccurate assertion by Governor Obaseki becomes even more worrisome when juxtaposed with the official statement released after the meeting of PDP Governors last week, calling for restructuring and greater devolution of powers to the States. It would appear that matters that require the collective resolve of all leaders are now being turned into purely partisan, point scoring claims.”
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