According to Peoples Gazette, Transport minister Rotimi Ameachi has been caught on tape admitting that President Muhammadu Buhari has always ordered the CBN to keep printing money since 2015.
Mr Buhari vowed to revamp the Nigerian economy in his campaign promises, but has been criticised for worsening the economic situation over the past six years of his regime.
In an interview with journalists prior to the 2019 general election in which Mr Buhari was re-elected, Mr Amaechi also disclosed that they swore an oath never to publicly admit to Nigerians that the government was on a printing spree of the national currency.
And most of you didn’t know at the time we took over, most Nigerians don’t even know because we have sworn to an oath not to tell anybody we were printing money,” Mr Amaechi said.
“Do you know when a country prints money? When it has no money at all,” he said. “We were just printing money to pay debt.”
Mr Amaechi’s comments further exposed the cover-up that has followed Mr Buhari’s widely condemned approach to the country’s economy, as millions of citizens continue to plunge into poverty. Nigeria has since emerged as the country with the highest number of poor people in the world. The country also has the poorest electricity supply and the second country with the most jobless people worldwide.
Earlier this year, renowned credit rating institution Fitch said the Nigerian central bank under Mr Buhari has been printing money at an alarming rate, warning that such tactics could engender additional economic woes for the country’s 200 million people.
Last month, Governor Godwin Obaseki expressed concerns on crude oil revenue, disclosing that the federal government printed extra N60 billion for states to share in March.
“In another year or so, where will we find this money that we go to Abuja to share every month? Last month, we got FAAC for March,” he said, explaining that “the federal government printed an additional ₦50 to ₦60 billion to top-up for us to share”.
“My worry is that we will wake up one day like Argentina, the naira will be ₦1,000, ₦2,000 and will be moving because we don’t have money coming in,” he maintained while lamenting that the current administration borrows without means or the idea of paying back.
In response, the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed accused the governor of spreading falsehood, stating that “The issue that was raised by the Edo state governor for me is very, very sad because it is not a fact”.
Similarly, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, dismissed Mr Obaseki’s claim, describing it as “unfortunate and totally inappropriate”.
Addressing the matter while speaking with journalists, Mr Emefiele said: “If you understand the concept of printing of money. The concept printing of money, it’s about lending money.
“That’s our job – to print. It’s about lending money and so there’s no need putting the controversy about the printing of money as if we are going into the factory printing the naira and start distributing on the streets.”
Prior to Mr Buhari’s assumption of office on May 29, 2015, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo disclosed that their administration would inherit $60 billion as foreign and domestic debt from the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Mr Osinbajo had also described the state of the Nigerian economy as unfortunate, stating that the nation has to spend 21 percent of its 2015 budget on debt servicing.
“We are concerned that our economy is currently in perhaps its worst moment in history. Local and international debt stands at $60 billion. Our debt servicing bill for 2015 is N953.6 billion, about 21 per cent of our budget,” the vice president had said.
A spokesman for Mr Amaechi did not return repeated requests seeking comments for the minister’s audio, which was part of a scandalous series that emerged in the run-up to the 2019 elections.
Although Mr Buhari and his appointees have been claiming repeatedly that they met an empty treasury, available facts showed the claim as untrue. The administration met at least $2.07 billion in excess crude accounts as of May 2015 when it came in.
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Obasanjo: I don’t subscribe to payment of ransom, Says nation’s security challenge requires a “carrot and stick” approach.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said he does not believe in payment of ransom to bandits or kidnappers.
Obasanjo lamented specifically that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government and his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan had paid ransom to kidnappers and bandits but stated both administrations denied it.
He noted that payment of ransom to kidnappers and bandits encourages criminals indulging in the act, recommending the Federal Government must devise means to deal with kidnappers and bandits sternly and heavily in place of ransom payment.
The elder statesman spoke on Wednesday at his Penthouse residence within the sprawling Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta, Ogun State when he received members of Tiv professionals Group (TPG) led by Prof Zacharys Anger Gundu.
The former President insisted the nation’s security challenge requires a “carrot and stick” approach.
“Some people are still reaching out and hoping that lives can still be saved. But a situation whereby anybody thinks paying ransom is the way out, that person is folly. He is a folly.
“This is because when you pay ransom, you encourage. But if you are not going to pay ransom, you must have the means to deal heavily with it. You must have the stick to deal with it.
Government has always paid ransom. Not only this government, even during Jonathan (administration). They paid ransom but they denied it.”
The former President said leaders must ensure 2023 birth a new Federation otherwise the country may slide into dissolution.
According to him: “I do believe that whatever else we do, we have to make the year 2023 a watershed for Nigeria. The year 2023 should give us the beginning of emergence of a new federation or feeling that the rot continues, and then, we are going to be sliding back to dissolution. God forbid.
“I believe that if we will get it right in Nigeria, any leader must look at Nigeria with the prism of the diversity of Nigeria. For as long as you look at Nigeria with the prism of your ethnic group, then you aren’t going anywhere, either your ethnic group or religious group. But is there hope? There is hope.”
It’ll be suicidal for FG to contemplate salary reduction ― NLC
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) declared on Wednesday that it would be suicidal for the Federal Government to contemplate a reduction in the salary of Nigerian workers as being proposed by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed.
The congress also warned that the move would set the country on fire, saying that the Nigerian workers are demanding an increase in their remunerations and allowances, as other countries are doing for their workers to reduce the effect of pandemic.
It said the call by the minister is tantamount to a “mass suicide” wish for Nigerian workers, adding that it was extremely horrendous for a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to pronounce salary slash for Nigerian workers at this time.
This call for salary slash by Mrs. Zainab Ahmed is tantamount to a mass suicide wish for Nigerian workers. It is most uncharitable, most insensitive, most dehumanizing and most barbaric. Nigerian workers demand an immediate retraction and apology by the Minister of Finance,” President of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba said in a statement.
Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, had said at a policy dialogue on corruption and cost of governance in Nigeria organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, in Abuja, that the Federal Government was working to reduce the high cost of governance by cutting down on the salaries of Nigerian workers.
The Minister of Finance was also reported to have directed the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) to immediately review the salaries of civil servants as well as the number of federal agencies in the country.
But the NLC said it read the statement credited to the Minister with huge shock and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately call the minister to order.
Wabba said: “We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the Minister of Finance to order now before she sets Nigeria on fire with her careless statements. If there is any salary that needs serious slashing it is the humungous remuneration and allowances pocketed by political office holders in Nigeria who do very little but collect so much.
Workers generate surplus value and revenue for government. We do not constitute any unnecessary cost or burden to governance! It is also important to make the point that salaries are products of contracts governed by laws. They cannot be unilaterally adjusted.
“While many countries of the world are increasing the salaries of their workforce, extending social security coverage for their citizens and providing all forms of palliatives to help their people through the terrible socio-economic dislocations occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, it would be completely absurd for the Nigerian government to be thinking of salary slash.
“This move is not only at great odds with global best responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is also in violation of relevant ILO Conventions and Declarations on Wages and Decent Work.
“We urge Government as a social partner to quickly respond to the demands by Labour for an upward review of salaries of all Nigerian workers. Nigerian workers have showed sufficient understanding with government through the tough patches of the pandemic. Now, Nigerian workers demand reciprocity of our understanding. Nigerian workers demand an increase in their remunerations and allowances.”
The NLC President added: “It is almost unthinkable that government would be contemplating to unilaterally slash the salaries of Nigerian workers at this time.
“The question to ask is: Which salary is government planning to slash? It certainly cannot be the meagre national minimum wage of N30,000 which right now cannot even buy a bag of rice. The proposed slash in salaries is certainly not targeted at the minimum wage and consequential adjustment in salaries that some callous State Governors are still dragging their feet to pay.
It is public knowledge that the multiple devaluation of the Naira in a very short time and the prevailing high inflation rate in Nigeria has knocked out the salaries earned by Nigerian workers across board. Nigerian workers are only surviving by hair’s breadth.”
Insecurity: Reps Ask FG To Suspend 2021 Census
The House of Representatives on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to suspend the planned 2021 census until the insecurity situation in the country is addressed.
The House presided over by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila advised the Federal Government to suspend the exercise till such a time the country was safe enough for it.
This was disclosed in a series of tweets on the official handle of the House of Representatives.
The resolution of the House was passed following a motion moved by a member representing Bosso/Paikoro Federal Constituency of Niger State, Shehu Beji.
The lawmaker while leading the debate on the motion told the House that several factors would work against the accuracy of the figures that would be obtained and the overall success of the exercise due largely to insecurity.
“Beji said, the safety of enumerators would not be guaranteed in many parts of the country.
“He also stated that many households would be unwilling to make family members available for enumeration because of the fear of the unknown.
“He added that it would be unwise in the prevailing circumstances to post enumerators to some parts of the country currently considered to be volatile.
“Beji argued that the fact that many locations would not be reached by enumerators was enough a reason to suspend the planned exercise,” the tweets read in part.
The key prayer of his motion, therefore, urged the House to “call on the Federal Government to suspend the exercise until the security of the country stabilises.”
The prayer was endorsed by the House in a majority voice vote.
The House also invited the Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Nasir Isa Kwarra, to explain the feasibility of conducting a population and housing census in the country amid the current security challenges.
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