April 16, 2024

The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of Economy, Wale Edun said N22.7tn printed by the Central Bank of Nigeria through Ways and Means overdraft under former President Muhammadu Buhari, was responsible for the current inflation in the country.

Edun stated this while briefing the Senate Committee on Finance in Abuja on Wednesday.

He noted that during the period, the printing of naira in trillions was carried out without any corresponding productive activities.

According to him, the consequence of the eight years of printing money without productivity is the high inflation confronting the country now.

The Senate had two weeks ago resolved to probe the N30tn Ways and Means overdraft obtained and spent by the Buhari administration.

It further stated that the alleged reckless spending of the overdraft collected from the CBN under Godwin Emefiele largely accounted for the food and security crises facing the country.

The Red Chamber then resolved to set up an Ad -hoc committee, to investigate the overdraft because the details of the spending were deliberately not made available to the National Assembly.

He said, “We talked about inflation, and you have helped to solve that. Where has it come from?

It came from the eight years of just printing money not matched by productivity.

“It’s not like when you earn dollars and you free the naira alongside it, although there’s even a better way than that. But that’s still not as bad.

“It’s not as if the money is matched by productivity increase in output. It is not. And what happened was that for eight years, the weak were left to their own devices. It is the privileged few that took everything.”

He added, “You distinguished senators have helped. You have given us the mandate to raise N7tn, which we will do by sucking money from the market, using it to pay back the central bank and giving the government a balanced book. We are going to audit even the N22.7tn printed aimlessly.”

He, however, assured the committee members that various damage-mitigating economic policies being rolled out by the present government, would in no distant time, bring about great recoveries in terms of lower Inflation rate and improved GDP growth rate.

Edun said rather than indulging in such money printing or seeking for avoidable loans, the President Bola Tinubu-led government is succeeding greatly in the area of revenue generation with over N13tn revenue generated from the non-oil sector in 2023, adding that the trajectory is being improved upon in 2024.

He stated, “We should not be despondent. We have done the hard part. Mr. President, through the bold and courageous measures which are recognised around the world as being beyond the usual, what you would normally see.

“To so riskily and robustly change the things that are wrong. And it wasn’t just a set of measures. It’s not just lifting of subsidy here or margin of rates there. No. It is a strategic plan, the whole fiscal side, the government’s finances have been repaired.”

Edun further stated, “You, distinguished senators, have helped further to encourage and enroll the executive to further repair the finances, the fiscal situation of this country by endorsing and urging us to do something about the leakages in the import duty, waiver system.

“And we have explained to you what we will do. And even from your body language, I believe you feel that that is in the right direction.”

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Sani Musa ( APC Niger East), said the interactive session would be a continuous exercise in knowing the short-term and long-term plans of the government on its way out of the precarious situation.

 

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