The governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has dismissed the claim by the governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, that the bank printed and shared money to states as “unfortunate and totally inappropriate”.
Mr Emefiele said printing money is a key mandate of the central bank, and the bank must always act to support the government at times of financial difficulties.
Mr Obaseki on Monday said the country is facing a serious financial crisis and called on the federal government to act quickly.
“When we got FAAC for March, the federal government printed additional N50-N60 billion to top-up for us to share,” he said.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, dismissed the claim, insisting the FAAC allocation was revenue from different agencies of the government.
Mr Obaseki in a tweet on Thursday said the government was “playing the ostrich”, and urged the government to take urgent steps to end the current “monetary rascality”.
Mr Emefiele addressed the matter on Thursday while speaking to journalists in Tunga, Awe Local Government Area, Nasarawa State.
“If you understand the concept of printing of money. The concept printing of money, it’s about lending money.
“That’s our job – to print. It’s about lending money and so there’s no need putting the controversy about printing of money as if we are going into the factory printing the naira and start distributing on the streets,” he was quoted as saying by ThisDay.
“For us to see some people playing some games, overheating his polity talking about printing of money, I think it is unfortunate and totally inappropriate. I would like to advise that this should stop. We should all work for the growth of our country and not play politics.
“It is very inappropriate for people to just give some colouration to the word ‘printing of money’ as if it is a foreign word coming from the sky.
“In 2015/2016, we were in a similar [fiscal] situation, but it is far worse today. We provided budget support facility to all the states of the country and that loan remains unpaid till now. We are going to insist on the states paying the loan back since they are effectively accusing us of giving them loans.“Most countries of the world today are confronted by not just the health crisis from the COVID pandemic but also economic crisis. I keep saying this: it would be irresponsible of the central bank of Nigeria or any central bank to stand idle and refuse to support its government at this time. Whatever we do in Nigeria is being done in any clime.“Nigeria is unfortunately in a very bad situation and we cannot pretend about it in the sense that we are facing problems about productivity output which is gross domestic product (GDP). We are working very hard to see how we can get our heads above water. We are also concerned with issues of inflation.”