The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed has lamented that the country is broke.
According to her, the country’s revenues are also crashing.
Speaking in an interview on the Nigerian Television Authority’s show, Good Morning Nigeria, she stated that the money shared at the March Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting was short of N50 billion.
The minister was speaking on the controversy over a claim by the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, that the Central Bank of Nigeria printed N60 billion in March to augment the money shared at March FAAC.
But the minister and the Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Godwin Emefiele last week dismissed Obaseki’s claim.
The finance minister stated that the country’s economy was stabilising from the recession which the country exited a few months ago.
She, however, added, “These are very difficult challenging times because revenues are low and the demand for expenditures are very high understandably because we have to keep intervening to make sure the pandemic is contained as well as the economic impact it has caused.
“In our case in Nigeria, the crash of the crude oil prices really hit us very hard in terms of revenue. We have very low revenues, we have very high expenditures. What we have done so far is just to provide some stability to make sure salaries are paid, pensions are received every month; that we send funds to the judiciary and the legislature; that we meet our debt service obligations.
“That’s what we are doing. It also means we have had to borrow more than we had planned before the COVID-19 started because we need to still continue to invest in infrastructure using our national budget. We borrowed to invest in key projects such as roads, rail, airports, seaports and several other investments that are required in health and in education and upgrading the social standards and quality of life of our people and Nigeria is not unique as several countries of the world went into recession.
“Almost every other country has had to borrow more than it planned. It means we expanded our deficit very fast in 2020. 2021 is a year that we see as the year of recovery.”
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