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Printing of currency, CBN’s lending means to government, Emefiele replies Obaseki

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THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele has said that printing of currency is part of the apex bank’s effort towards lending to the government to meet its obligations.

Emefiele was reacting to a recent statement by Edo Governor Godwin Obaseki that the Federal Government authorised the printing of N60 billion to augment allocations received by states in March due to paucity of funds – an allegation Finance Minister  Zainab Ahmed denied.

Ahmed said the issue raised by the governor was very sad, noting that what was distributed to states in March was revenue generated by various revenue organs of the government.

The minister said, contrary to assertions by Obaseki that the Nigeria economy was in a bad shape due to huge borrowing and lack of diversification of the economy, Nigeria’s debt, estimated at 23 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), was sustainable.

In response, Obaseki, who stood by his position, asked the Federal Government to end the current monetary rascality and stop playing the ostrich.

But in a viral video seen by The ICIR on Thursday, Emefiele described Obaseki’s claim as a political ploy that was “unfortunate and totally inappropriate.”

According to him, the Federal Government had disbursed loans to states to manage the economic difficulties occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“If you understand the concept of printing of money, it is about lending money. There is no need for all the controversy around money printing as if we are going into the factory to print naira and then distribute on the streets,” he said.

“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.

“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.”

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