The Federal Government has once again debunked the claim by Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State that N60 billion was printed to shore up March allocation to states.
Taking a position on the issue after receiving presentations from the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, and the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, the National Economic Council during its fourth 2021 meeting held on Thursday unanimously described the claim as reported in the media as “outrightly false.”
The meeting, which was presided over by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), also had in attendance state governors, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Central Bank Governor, Minister of Finance, Transportation, Information, Aviation and Water Resources Ministers and the Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, said in a statement that the governors, after critically reviewing the matter, unanimously expressed satisfaction with clarifications made by the Nigeria Governors Forum, represented by its chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Ahmed and Emefiele.
“While the Finance Minister categorically debunked that naira was printed to back up allocation last month, the CBN Governor fully supported the position of the minister, and the chairman of NGF also noted that he knew no such thing happened at all,” the statement read.
Also, while welcoming recommendations of a national town hall meeting on Enhanced Security and National Unity held recently in Kaduna, the NEC strongly affirmed the unity of the country, emphasising that staying as one country remains the best option for Nigeria.
While emphasising the need to address the problems of agitation in parts of the country, the NEC noted that such agitations are common with countries with huge and diverse populations.
It then directed states to hold consultations and dialogues on the issues and report back by the next meeting.
In her presentation, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning disclosed that the balance on the Excess Crude Account as at April 22, 2021 stood at N72,413,008.60; Stabilisation Account, N23,299,008,799.06; and the Natural Resources Development Account, N77,742,012,342.87.
Council also received a presentation on the current status of water, sanitation, and hygiene services level across the country as revealed by the 2019 WASH National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASH-NORM II) survey jointly carried out by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and National Bureau of Statistics in collaboration with UNICEF.
It was revealed that the percentage of the population with access to basic water supply services has steadily increased from 67 per cent in 2015 to 68 per cent in 2018, and 70 per cent in 2019.
The statement reads: “On access to sanitation, indicators across the country show a slight improvement as 44 per cent of the population were found to have access to basic sanitation services in 2019 compared to 42 per cent in 2018. Only 17 per cent of the population use improved sanitation facilities that have proper handwashing facilities with soap.
“The number of people practising open defecation marginally changed from 24 per cent in 2018 to 23 per cent in 2019, meaning that about 46 million people are still defecating in the open.
“About 27 per cent of markets and motor parks have access to basic water supply services. Accessibility of persons living with disabilities is very low at 17 per cent. About a quarter of markets and motor parks (24%) have access to basic sanitation services and slightly more than half (53%) of markets and motor parks do not have toilets for public use.”