President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday said the Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, spoke out of ignorance when he accused the present government of illegally overdrawing the country’s central consolidated account.
The account, domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria, was said to have been overdrawn to the tune of N4.7 trillion by the Buhari administration, an act the traditional ruler said contradicted Section 38 (2) of the CBN Act.
“CBN claims on the FGN now tops N4.7 trillion — equal to almost 50 per cent of the FGN’s total domestic debt,” Mr. Sanusi said. “This is a clear violation of the Central Bank Act of 2007 (Section 38.2) which caps advances to the FGN at 5 per cent of last year’s revenues.”
Mr. Sanusi also attacked the federal government’s plan to borrow $30 billion from foreign lenders to fund the budget and build infrastructure. He said no one will lend Nigeria money at a time it is operating five different tiers of foreign exchange rates.
Mr. Buhari responded through his media aide, Garba Shehu, on Saturday night, saying the former CBN governor “doesn’t have his facts as far as those issues are concerned.”
The president admitted that he ordered a massive borrowing from the CBN, but said the limit had not been pushed.
“The issue in CBN, that government has overdrawn its Central Consolidated Account is true, but the overdrawing is within limits.
“The overdraw does not exceed 1.5 trillion. It is incorrect to say, as he did that the account was overdrawn by 4.5 trillion,” he said.
The response was posted by Mr. Shehu on his Twitter page, and he said the government still had sufficient fund in the treasury single account to clear its loan from CBN.
But even assuming that he was correct. This is a govt 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 & the other, well funded to the point that it can at any time wipe the indebtedness on the other,” Mr. Buhari said.
Would any bank manager lose their sleep over this?”
Mr. Sanusi had been attacking the Buhari administration’s economic policies for a while.
On August 24, a week before Nigeria officially slipped into recession, the emir blamed the economic crisis on the incoherent policies of the federal government, and warned that Mr. Buhari may end his reign in the same manner as President Goodluck Jonathan.