By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The presidency has replied Emir of Kano, Mr Muhammad Sanusi II, who accused the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) of funding the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration illegally.
It would be recalled that while speaking at a policy monitoring dialogue hosted by Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development held on Friday at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja, the monarch had said CBN’s lending to the government since Mr Buhari came in had spiked from about N1.5 trillion to over N4.5 trillion.
“CBN claims on Federal Government now tops N4.7 trillion, equal to almost 50 percent of the FG’s total domestic debt.
“This is a clear violation of the Central Bank Act of 2007 (Section 38.2) which caps advances to the FG at 5 percent of last year’s revenues. Has CBN become the government’s lender of last or first resort?” he had stated at the occasion.
He had also opposed plans by the Federal Government to seek foreign loan of about $30 billion, advising the Senate never to approve such, stressing that the President Buhari-led administration lacked “the right policies to fix the current economic woes.”
But reacting on Saturday night to the points raised by the Emir via his official Facebook page, spokesman to the President, Mr Garba Shehu, said the former CBN Governor “does not have his facts as far as those issues are concerned.”
Though Mr Shehu confirmed the monarch’s claim that the government has overdrawn its Central Consolidated Account, but maintained that “the overdrawing is within limits.”
“The overdraw does not exceed N1.5 trillion. It is incorrect to say, as he did that the account was overdrawn by N4.5 trillion,” the presidency said.
“But even assuming that he was correct. This is a government that has money in excess the amount he mentioned in the Treasury Single Account, TSA.
“It is just like you, a bank customer operating two accounts, one in the red and the other, well-funded to the point that it can at any time wipe the indebtedness on the other. Would any bank manager lose their sleep over this?
“This, I am told is what the IMF found at the CBN and they said it is perfectly normal,” he explained.
The presidency also said, “As for his opposition to the $30 billion loan, I’m aware that the Minister of Finance is responding to that.
“As a private citizen, I want to read his statement again. I thought that the borrowing is for projects that include the railway development in Kano, his own city.”
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