The outgoing governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Fashola, has called minister of finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to a public debate. The governor, who spoke during an interview with journalists from select media houses, added that the debate would enable the public to understand that the country made a budget on the basis of certain assumptions.
Fashola said this relativey to Okonjo-Iweala’s statement some weeks ago that Nigeria had no money to pay salaries to government workers, blaming the falling oil prices for the situation.
Fashola said: “I won’t want to have a public debate with the Finance Minister because if it was a matter she was willing to debate, let her call a meeting and we will have a public debate on it. I think the sense for the public to understand is that the country made a budget on the basis of certain assumptions. There was a national budget. Those assumptions have become unrealistic.
“It is possible for the uninformed members of the public to misunderstand that statement and think that they couldn’t pay salaries because they didn’t want to pay. But the admission you must first make is that their income has declined. Let us go forward and all of us must understand this: the money that goes to each state from the federation account is for the entire state, not for the public service.