Tayo Olanipekun, Washington DC
Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has said state governments requesting for allocations to run their states “put pressure” on the Federal Government of Nigeria in ways that affect the government’s desire to save into the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) account.
The Minister said the government likes to make savings into the account a routine rather than something done periodically and called for the cooperation of the states to be able to do this.
Ahmed made this revelation Friday evening on the sidelines of the ongoing world Bank/IMF Spring meetings in Washington DC, adding that her Ministry declares every month to the National Economic Council the balances of the excess crude accounts to promote transparency, even as she could not disclose the balances in the accounts as at press time.
“When any fund passes any threshold, we want to be able to save but to be able to do so, we need the cooperation of the states as well. Often time, when we want to save, the states will be putting pressure that they want funds for the running of their states,” she said.
The 36 states of the federation get a monthly allocation from the Federation Accounts under a revenue sharing formula and over 30 of the states depend on this for their monthly expenditures, including payment of workers’ salaries.
The Minister said top on the agenda of the country is how to be able to optimize the relationship with the IMF and World Bank at the Spring Meetings.
She added that during the close-door meeting of the G24 Finance Ministers, problems common to the countries in the same group with Nigeria as well as sub-Saharan Africa will be discussed.
“We want to be able to ensure that we are aware of the global risk. We know that the financial risk is high domestically and we also want to prepare ourselves that we are aware of the global risk so as to be able to contain any risk that may happen,” she said.