Residents of Ogun state, Southwest, Nigeria have been called upon to ignore the lies the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is peddling around to discredit the present administration ahead of Saturday’s governorship election.
The state government disclosed that since the general downturn in the national economy last year October, the state and others across the country have been challenged by the effects of a reduction in FAAC, and Internally Generated Revenue, IGR.
The government dismissed the allegation by the campaign organisation of the PDP governorship candidate, Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka, who described the recent release of 1.5 billion for the payment of outstanding deduction of workers salary and cooperatives as a ‘Greek Gift’, warning the people to beware of the antics of the government.
Addressing newsmen over the weekend, Commissioner for Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun revealed that the PDP candidate personal mis-management contributed to the financial challenges the state faced when the present administration came on board in 2011.
Others at the MITROS Hall, venue of the press briefing includes the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Barr. Taiwo Adeoluwa, State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Alhaji (Barr.) Yussuph Olaniyonu and the Senior Adviser on Communication to the Governor.
“In light of the resumption of payment of salary deductions and co-operative dues with the release of N1.5 billion on Thursday, April 2, 2015, we believe it is necessary to clarify the issues that gave rise to the delay in payment and other matters relating to the state’s finances,” the Finance Commissioner said.
“Prior to October 2014 and the global fall in oil prices, Ogun State Government had a stellar record of meeting all its financial obligations including those inherited from the previous administration as at when due. Indeed, we paid salary deduction for 41 consecutive months including three months left unpaid by the previous administration.
“With the implementation of minimum wage, the public sector wage bill rose from N4 billion to N6.2 billion monthly. The additional N2.2 billion monthly directly improved the income levels of all our public sector workers and had a multiplier effect across the state, increasing our GDP. We recognize the key role public wages play in the state economy and we have paid salaries up to March 2015.
“The suddenness of the downturn was such that immediate adjustments could not be made, thus the delay in remittance of salary and co-operative dues”, she stated.
Adeosun further revealed that the governor presided over an interim recovery plan which will ensure that no worker in the state would be disengaged.
“A medium term financial strategy has been developed which will help us to overcome this short term fiscal imbalance. Not only will no worker be disengaged but rather the forthcoming recruitment of additional staff will be undertaken”, Adeosun affirmed.
The state government accused the PDP candidate, Gboyega Isiaka of contributing to financial logjam in the state. “It must be pointed out that PDP candidate, Gboyega Isiaka personal financial mis-management has contributed to the financial challenges we have faced.
“It will be recalled that under his leadership, Gateway Holdings took a loan, guaranteed by Ogun State Government, to the tune of N1.6 billion for the purported construction of a head office and a mega filling station.
“It is a shame that there is nothing beyond a foundation to show for the loan taken and the proceeds cannot be accounted for. In addition, not one naira was repaid culminating in this administration inheriting a balance of N2.6 billion which we are now repaying at the rate of N100m monthly.
“The financial performance of this administration has consistently perplexed our detractors. They have therefore resorted to wild allegation of secret foreign loans,” she disclosed.
On the allegation of obtaining foreign loan, which according to GNI campaign organisation was signed by Ifekayode Akinbode, Director, Media and Publicity, copy obtained by our correspondent has put the state in heavy indebtedness.
“As Amosun faces the polls in a week and sensing that the workers and indeed the masses have concluded that they will not vote for him, he and Kemi Adeosun (Commissioner for Finance) ran around to shop for a fresh N2.5billion foreign loan (as no local bank will give him further loans) and decided to dole N1.5billion to pacify the workers and then spend the rest to buy votes.
“This has further put the state in heavy indebtedness; hence his desperation to return to office to cover and manage the mess.
“The question that arises is that where are Ogun state Statutory monies such that he has been running government on revolving loans? Could the answer be that funds are being freighted through dubious road expansion projects and needless bridges usually awarded at mind – boggling cost”,PDP campaign group alleged.
In reaction to the claim, the State Commissioner for Finance said, “we restate again, that we have not taken any foreign loans. Indeed if they were conversant with financial regulations, they would or should know that foreign loans can only be taken with the express approval of the Federal Ministry of Finance and is subject to legislative assent.
“The DMO maintains and publishes periodic data on our loan portfolio and we invite the PDP to provide proof to substantiate their allegations or keep their peace,” she posited.
On the claim by the opposition that the state government could not pay N3 billion debt it owed Ecobank, which the state government only managed to pay the interest for three months before stopping.
Adeosun clarified the issue that the alleged debt was of the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC money, which is a joint payment between the Federal and state government, revealing that since the FG has failed to pay their part, they had to suspend the payment.
“I would want Isiaka to come to my office and get clarification on what he does not know, especially on governance and the financial status of the state.
“For record purpose, we didn’t collect N3 billion from Ecobank. It is UBEC programme and it is being financed by both Federal government and State government. They pay N1.6 billion and we went to bank to collect N1.6 billion and we are servicing the debt only for the FG to stop and that forced us to stop as well,” she explained.
She assured the good people of Ogun state that the present challenges will soon be overcome with the innovative strategy set to accomplish the Mission to rebuild programme of the administration.
“This is evidenced by the achievements of our administration in restoring sanity to our clime by ensuring security of lives and property, rebuilding infrastructure, attracting industries, restoring investors’ confidence, putting the education and health sectors right and generally raising the standard of living of our people.
“We make bold to say that under our administration, things are really getting better”.
Adeosun used the medium to thanked the good people of the State for the support for the Ibikunle Amosun led administration before, during and after the last Presidential Elections.
She however pleaded with them to continue to separate the wheat from the chaff, urging them not to allow anybody to use them to spread malicious and false information
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