Obaseki’s spurious claim and PDP’s deliberate attack on Finance Minister , Zainab Ahmad

Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmad

PRESS RELEASE

We are deeply troubled by the increasing use of disinformation and tainted truth by some politicians to misguide and misinform the public about government policies for mischief political agenda.

As we are aware, over the last 6 – 7 years, Nigeria was faced with challenging financial and economic problems characterised by a series of increased inflation, unemployment and Naira depreciation. This is because; Nigeria is a mono-economy, dependent on crude oil exportation for its survival and importation of virtually everything. The post-2014 economic growth recorded by Nigeria was due to the protection offered by its huge and enormous oil resources (which was the source of its major wealth for foreign exchange earnings and revenue) at a time when the oil price was lucrative hovering around $80 – $130 a barrel (between 2009 – 2015).

Unfortunately, previous administrations lead by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) failed to use the crude oil earnings to diversify the economy nor save for rainy days. Instead, most of these earnings were stolen through unscrupulous contract awards as well extravagant spending by government officials. The result is that by January 2015 when the oil price crashed, the Nigerian government basically became broke having only 6 months of exports funds in its foreign reserve.

This left the new Buhari administration that came in May 2015 with a completely tattered economy and a government that is unable to pay for workers salary without borrowing. All this was a result of financial mismanagement from previous administrations. The incoming President and his administration had to embark on numerous fiscal and economic policies that will increase government revenues, reduce the unemployment rate and cut down on imports.

This include policies that help improve ease of doing business, creating jobs through infrastructure projects, supporting local manufacturing and agricultural production through giving out grants and low-interest loans as well as numerous poverty alleviation programs through cash transfers to citizens.

These policies have shown promising performance and were key factors for lifting the economy out of the 2016 and 2020 (due to COVID-19 pandemic) recessions. Unfortunately, members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) whose administrations were responsible for Nigeria’s economic woes have been nothing but nuisances and advocates of doom, always trying to deter the populace from supporting government policies while not taking responsibilities for the economic and financial mismanagement that took place during their reign. Sometimes they sort into blackmailing government officials, just to deter them from implementing the needed economic policies.

A key figure driving the current administration’s Economic and fiscal policies is the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed. Mrs Zainab Ahmad has extensive knowledge and diverse experience in public sector reform and management. She initially served as Accountant at the Ministry of Finance Kaduna State, Managing Director of the Kaduna State Investment Company, Chief Finance Officer of the Nigeria Mobile Telecommunications Company and Executive Secretary and National Coordinator of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).

She as well possesses numerous professional qualifications which include: Fellow, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria; Fellow, Institute of Company and Commercial Accountants and Member, Chartered Institute of Management Taxation as well as Member, Nigerian Institute of Management. Throughout her career, Mrs Zainab has never been connected with unethical activities. Recent happening regarding the unscrupulous claims by the Governor of Edo State Mr Godwin Obaseki that the Central Bank of Nigeria printed N60 Billion which was shared as federation allocations was nothing but to gain cheap political points against the APC led administration. And as usual members of his party have jumped on this opportunity to politically harass and blackmail the Honourable Minister of Finance, Mr Zainab.

Read Also:Our Reasons For Borrowing Fresh $3bn From World Bank-Zainab Ahmed

Facts and figures of the revenues shared as federal allocations in March 2021 shows that, all revenues were listed item by item as follows; VAT – N157.327 billion, Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) – N137.583 billion, remittances by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) – N133.583 billion, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) – N89.350 billion, Company Income Tax (CIT) and related taxes – N66.356 billion, remittance by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) remitted – N64.161 billion, remittance by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) – N976 million.

Overall a gross income of N649.336 billion was recorded, however, after 13 percent derivation payment to oil-producing states were netted off, the total revenue to be shared reduced to N596.944 billion. After N8.645 billion withdrawn from the forex equalisation fund account is added, a grand total of N605.589 was shared by the three tiers of government the breakdown shows that the federal government receive N205.160 billion as its share, while the 36 states received N166.085 billion and the 774 councils N122.853 billion and oil-producing states shared an additional N37.143 billion as derivation payment.

Among these figures, there is no single item suggesting that N60 billion was added to the allocation pool from any source. However, PDP and its cohorts are not interested in facts and figures but thrives on ruse and gossips. Governor Obaseki and PDP’s attack on Mrs Zainab is nothing but their usual and never ending tactics of using media and public gatherings to blackmail members of the present administration with the intention to cause a public uproar in order to score cheap political points.

While it is common practice in both developed and developing countries to print money during difficult economic times, the responsibility mostly lies on the advice and suggestions made by the Central Bank. As such it is not unethical for a country to print money in order to spur economic growth. We have seen such decisions taken by many countries (in 2020 – 2021) to stimulate their economies due to the COIVD-19 pandemic.

For example, data have shown that the UK printed over £875 billion in 2020, the US printed more than $3 trillion in 2020, India printed over $44.2 billion in 2020 and plans to print at least $14 billion starting from April 2021, South Africa is reported to have printed $1.46 billion to buy government bonds in the secondary market, our neighbours Ghana has printed $1.7 billion.

So it is not unethical for Nigeria to do so provided that such action is done in the interest of the country and will help stimulate the economy during hard times. Nigeria’s CBN governor Mr Godwin Emefiele has personally addressed the issue of printing and have made it clear that printing money is a responsibility of the Central Bank and it is mainly done for intervention measure by lending it out and or bailing out struggling states and institutions and is not the layman’s understanding of printing hard currency for distribution or for financial misappropriation as widely propagated by the opposition. We knew that both Mr Obaseki and PDP members knows and understand this, but they chose to misinform the public because to them politics means opposition and blackmailing your opponent on each and every national matters.

We hereby call on the public to disregard the media campaign of calumny against the person the Honourable Minister Mrs Zainab Ahmad. We will like to unequivocally call on Mrs Zainab to keep giving her best for the betterment of our beloved country and urge her not to be discouraged by the actions of and anarchist.. We call on the federal government to adopt more effective economic policies and built on the existing citizen economic empowerment programs in order to grow and diversify our economy.

Signed:

Joint Non-State Actors Consultative Forum

Kano State Chapter

Katsina State Chapter

Zamfara State Chapter

Imo State Chapter

Kaduna State Chapter

Niger State Chapter

Sokoto State Chapter

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