Some government ministries, departments and agencies are in a spending frenzy to exhaust funds in their accounts as the year 2015 comes to an end, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele has revealed.
The CBN governor also disclosed that money in the government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) was now in excess of N2 trillion.
He disclosed this at a media interactive session in Abuja.
According to him, as the year was coming to an end, the ministries were coming up with all manner of projects and programmes all aimed at depleting their accounts before the year ends.
“I can tell you that we now have over N2 trillion sitting in the TSA. Today is November 18 and ministries are struggling to spend before the year runs out,” he said.
He however did not say if there were measures in place to curb such spending as being done by the MDAs just as he did not mention those involved.
LEADERSHIP Sunday recalls that President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered that all revenues be paid into the Treasury Single Account (TSA) from September 15, as part of his administration’s avowed efforts to fight corruption and aid transparency in government business.
Emefiele told editors at the interactive session that though the TSA initiative was not novel, successive governments had been unable to implement it because of lack of the will to do it, and hailed the Buhari-led government for finding the will to make it work.
On the inflation rate, fall of the naira and economic situation in the country, he said the CBN and the government was doing its best, including the use of unorthodox measures to solve the problem. He however pointed out that it was not a problem peculiar to Nigeria, and expressed optimism that before long, measures put in place by this government will begin to yield results and the nation’s economy would be the better for it.
The CBN Governor lamented that whereas it had launched a N220 billion Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Fund, only about 60 per cent of the fund had been accessed.
He put the blame for the slow progress recorded at the door step of commercial banks through which beneficiaries are supposed to access the fund, saying the banks are usually sceptical about giving out the loans when they do not have sufficient conviction that the loan seekers will not default, due to past experiences.
He however said the CBN was working on changing the orientation of the banks towards loans, especially intervention funds. He said the CBN was trying to make them understand that the category of people these intervention funds are meant for are not those who easily default, that rather, they are scared of taking loans and when they do, they pay.
On calls for further devaluation of the naira, the CBN Governor advised against it, saying another round of devaluation would hurt the economy more.
He also justified the apex bank’s spending on Master/Visa card overseas, saying the bank had to take the measures as the high spending was putting a strain on the nation’s forex reserves.
While explaining that the government was working out the best solution for the issue of petrol subsidy, he pointed out that if the issue of oil importation is sorted out, 35 per cent of imports would be saved, forex would also be saved and when demand for forex drops, the naira would stabilise.
The CBN Governor advised Nigerians travelling abroad for holidays to avoid patronising the black market for forex, saying lack of patronage would make the black market not thrive.