Governor of Edo, Godwin Obaseki says the federal government printed N60 billion as part of federal allocation for March, adding that Nigeria is in huge financial trouble.
Speaking at the Edo state transition committee stakeholders engagement on Thursday, the governor said the economy is no longer what it used to be.
Recent data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), showed that Nigeria’s total public debt stock as of the third quarter of 2020 (Q3 2020) rose by N6.01 trillion within a year.
The agency’s report noted that Nigeria’s total public debt stock constituting of external and domestic debts stood at N32.22 trillion ($84.57 billion) as of September 30, 2020.
Obaseki said the rising debt profile is worrisome as dependence on crude oil is no longer sustainable.
“Nigeria has changed. The economy of Nigeria is not the same again whether we like it or not. Since the civil war, we have been managing, saying money is not our problem as long as we are pumping crude oil everyday,” he said.
“So we have run a very strange economy and strange presidential system where the local, state and federal government, at the end of the month, go and earn salary. We are the only country in the world that does that.
“Everywhere else, government rely on the people to produce taxes and that is what they use to run the local government, state and the federation.
“But with the way we run Nigeria, the country can go to sleep. At the end of the month, we just go to Abuja, collect money and we come back to spend. We are in trouble, huge financial trouble.
“The current price of crude oil is only a mirage. The major oil companies who are the ones producing are no longer investing much in oil. Shell is pulling out of Nigeria and Chevron is now one of the world’s largest investors in alternative fuel, so in another year or so, where will we find this money that we go to share in Abuja?”
He expressed worry that the country has continued to borrow despite unclear means of refunding payments.
The governor said the government must live up to its social contract with citizens.
“When we got FAAC for March, the federal government printed additional N50-N60 billion to top-up for us to share,” he said.
“This April, we will go to Abuja and share. By the end of this year, our total borrowings is going to be within N15-N16 trillion. Imagine a family that is just borrowing without any means to pay back and nobody is looking at that, everybody is looking at 2023, everybody is blaming Mr. President as if he is a magician.”