Godwin Obaseki, the Governor of Edo State, has said Nigeria is in “huge financial trouble” with the way the economy is run.
Obaseki lamented that Nigeria was the only country in the world where the federal, state and local governments earn salaries at the end of the month, adding that the Federal Government printed N60bn as part of federal allocation for March.
Speaking at the state transition committee stakeholders’ engagement, the governor said the economy was no longer what it used to be, with a rising debt profile and dependence on crude oil that was 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 every day. 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 salaries. We are the only country in the world that does that.
“Everywhere else, the government relies 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,” TheCable quoted him as saying on Thursday.
Obaseki, who described the current price of crude oil as only a mirage, lamented that the country had continued to borrow despite unclear means of repayment.
He added, “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?
“When we got FAAC for March, the Federal Government printed an additional N50-N60bn to top-up for us to share. This April, we will go to Abuja and share. By the end of this year, our total borrowing is going to be within N15trn to N16trn.’’