By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Governors Forum has criticised the Edo state Governor , Godwin Obaseki, over his recent public comment that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) printed N60 billion to augment the shortfall in the federal Government allocation to states.
In a statement issued yesterday by the chairman of the Forum, Atiku Abubakar Bagudu, who is the Governor of Kebbi State, the APC Governors said the claim by Governor Obaseki does not reflect the true situation of things.
The Forum, in the statement released to newsmen Sunday in Abuja, said at first, the impression it got was that it was an off the cuff 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 PGF states: “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 said 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 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,” said the PGF.