THE EDUCATOR - September 10 2018

FG plot to limit Govs’ cash withdrawal at N20m monthly

“The CBN will give instructions to banks that no state government can withdraw more than N20 million a month. This will translate to N5 million a week.”

Plans are underway to peg cash withdrawal limit of state governors to N20 million monthly, Daily Sun investigation has revealed.

The new policy, it is learnt, will soon be communicated to the managements of commercial banks by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
A Federal Government source, who disclosed the plans to Daily Sun, at the weekend, said the CBN leadership has been directed to ensure implementation of the new policy by commercial banks.

He claimed that the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, will be mandated to direct managing directors of commercial banks in clear terms that all states must comply with the policy.

“The CBN will give instructions to banks that no state government can withdraw more than N20 million a month. This will translate to N5 million a week.”

But Head, Media and Public Affairs, Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) Secretariat, Abdulrazaque Barkindo, denied knowledge of the planned policy.
He also pleaded for time to make some calls and get back to this newspaper.

Regardless, a governor from one of the North-East states, who declined to be named, lamented that the policy will make states insolvent and cripple operations.
The governor asked rhetorically: “How do they want us to ensure security in our states? How do we fuel vehicles, engage in government business and why is such

directive not also given to the federal government?”

He said the policy, if implemented, will set states on fire.

“…I don’t know what the federal government wants. Some big states such as Lagos, Kano, Akwa Ibom and Rivers, with high revenue base, may decide to keep their

internally generated funds in the office and spend during election.
“That will have adverse effect on our banks,” he further added.
According to another governor, if the policy is implemented, the economy will simply crumble.
“What it means is that the economy is under threat and the federal government is out to cripple the states. Why will anyone come up with such an idea? What it also means is that state governments will generate their revenues and not take such to the bank. There are few states that can withstand such threats from government. This is dangerous for our democracy; if it is allowed to see the light of the day.”
A deputy governor of a state in the South-South, who also declined to be named, accused the Presidency of planning to cripple states in the zone; in a bid to wrest power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in those states.
He said: “The truth is that they are aiming at states such as Akwa Ibom and Rivers; which are their prime targets.
“It is all about 2019; they want to stifle operations of states and ensure that governors do have money to fund their elections. But, I do not see such plan succeeding. No governor will be happy with this type of policy, it will further divide the country.”
But the government source denied the policy is targeted at any state as it will be implemented by all the states; regardless of the parties controlling them.
“It will be implemented across party lines. A directive, through the CBN, will be given to banks, to ensure that it does apply to governors across party divide”, the source reiterated.
Regardless, Director General of the Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu, said President Muhammadu Buhari is interested in policies that will revamp the economy. He said the president’s three areas of priority – corruption, security and economy – have all been attended to satisfactorily.
“President Buhari performed creditably in all his promises. He promised to focus on economy, corruption and security and anybody with good conscience will agree that he has done well in these three areas.
“He took Nigeria out of recession and has ensured that the economy continues to improve”.
But, Tajudeen Yusuf, representing Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu in the House of Representatives, told Daily Sun that government has failed in the management of economy.
He claimed that the economy went into recession as a result of bad policies , a similar situation he said was witnessed when president Buhari was the military head of state in 1984.
“Nigeria has been in recession twice, 1984 when Buhari was in charge and 2016, when Buhari, again, was in charge. His name is synonymous with recession and at both times he blamed it on others. In 1984, he blamed it on Shagari’s administration’s recklessness and now, it is Jonathan’s recklessness. When a lie is told repeatedly, the person telling it might forget he is lying but the people will not forget.”