Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation has described as ‘false’ reports that he said the government has been printing money since 2015.
He, however, urged Nigerians to disregard the publication circulating on social media on the issue.
Peoples Gazette had reported that Ameachi was caught on tape admitting that President Muhammadu Buhari has always ordered the CBN to keep printing money since 2015.
In an interview with journalists prior to the 2019 general election in which Mr Buhari was re-elected, Mr Amaechi also disclosed that they swore an oath never to publicly admit to Nigerians that the government was on a printing spree of the national currency.
“And most of you didn’t know at the time we took over, most Nigerians don’t even know because we have sworn to an oath not to tell anybody we were printing money,” Mr Amaechi said.
“Do you know when a country prints money? When it has no money at all,” he said. “We were just printing money to pay debt.”
The paper said Mr Amaechi’s comments further exposed the cover-up that has followed Mr Buhari’s widely condemned approach to the country’s economy, as millions of citizens continue to plunge into poverty. Nigeria has since emerged as the country with the highest number of poor people in the world. The country also has the poorest electricity supply and the second country with the most jobless people worldwide.
Earlier this year, renowned credit rating institution Fitch said the Nigerian central bank under Mr Buhari has been printing money at an alarming rate, warning that such tactics could engender additional economic woes for the country’s 200 million people.
Last month, Governor Godwin Obaseki expressed concerns on crude oil revenue, disclosing that the federal government printed extra N60 billion for states to share in March.
“In another year or so, where will we find this money that we go to Abuja to share every month? Last month, we got FAAC for March,” he said, explaining that “the federal government printed an additional ₦50 to ₦60 billion to top-up for us to share”.
“My worry is that we will wake up one day like Argentina, the naira will be ₦1,000, ₦2,000 and will be moving because we don’t have money coming in,” he maintained while lamenting that the current administration borrows without means or the idea of paying back.
But reacting to the report, the Minister, in a statement by his Media Assistant, Taiye Elebiyo-Edeni, said he does not qualify to talk on such issues.
He said: “I have never head any financial institution in the country and therefore did not qualify as an authority in the issues that concerns printing of money into the economy.
“I advise Nigerians who wants information on printing of money to find out from the appropriate agency and not circulate false statement to gain cheap publicity.”