Revenue allocation must favour states – Akeredolu
By Adekola Afolabi
Reviewing the present Nigeria’s revenue formular in favour of states is the only panacea to states financial difficulties.
Ondo state Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu made this assertion yesterday.
Akeredolu while featuring on an OSRC special television programme, tagged “An evening with Mr Governor”, said the finances of majority of the states are low and may go bankrupt if they are to pay the new minimum wage for workers.
He revealed that many states cannot continue the way they are now as a lot of them are not able to pay salaries of their workers despite the latest increment in the minimum wage to N30, 000, adding that the new minimum wage was already creating alot of fears in the mind of many state governments.
The governor said the states have been experiencing dwindling allocations from the federal government in the last four months which he added has worsen the financial situation of the states.
On the security challenges facing the country, including farmers/herdsmen clashes, insurgency and militancy, Akeredolu noted that efforts are being made to surmount the challenges, just as he suggested that there must be a tracker in each state of the federation to tackle crime saying no governor can sleep with the level of criminal activities across the country.
He said the recommendation of the security Summit held in Ondo State would be sent to the state House of Assembly for legislation
He said in the South West region, all the governors and the security agencies are holding security meeting with a view to ensuring the safety of lives and property of the citizenry.
Akeredolu also used the occasion to reveal the giant strides of his administration in the areas of provision of qualitative and affordable healthcare services to the people of the state, construction and renovation of public schools to make it conducive to learning.
Akeredolu who said Ondo State is up and doing in terms of Primary Health Care delivery promised that the some medical equipment expecting from abroad would change the face of health facilities in the state, adding that the Contributory Health Insurance Scheme has kicked off in Ondo State.
He also refuted the claims by some student leaders that government has increased tuition fees in the state-owned tertiary institutions in the state, saying that government has not increased tuition fees against what the students have been paying in the last one year.
He insisted that Ondo State still charges the lowest tuition fees in the South West. “No hike in fees. Fees being charged are what agreed on by the student union leaders and other relevant stakeholders.”
He emphasised that his government would continue to make positive impacts on all areas of the economy of the state, adding that no community will be left untouched by the administration.
Akeredolu explained that government was judiciously utilising the limited resources to bring real dividends of good governance to the citizenry, saying that the state will continue to witness more meaningful development in the areas of road construction, industrialisation and building of schools.
He stressed that government recently employed 400 graduates and trained them on generating internal revenue of the state and to be able to meet the needs of the people, adding that a Canadian software method is being adopted to block all the loopholes in the revenue generation of Ondo State.
He noted that the IGR of the state has now increased from the previous N700m to about N1.5bn per month, saying that government was targeting N2bn to enable it provide more dividends of good governance to the people without putting unnecessary financial burden on the people.
“The increase in IGR has not placed undue burden on the good people of Ondo state, we have not increased tax. The only difference is that we have trained personnel who have ensured accountability and proper collection of these funds in all local governments across the state,” he said.
“Software has been deployed to monitor money which people have been collecting and has not been accounted for but today they can now be accounted for. Those are some of the measures taken to support our finances in the State,” Akeredolu emphasised.
On Nigeria Financial Intelligent Unit, NFIU’s on local governments’ funds, the governor said the matter is already before the court of competent jurisdiction.
He further hinted that government was concerned about the plight of the physically challenged in the state and was doing everything possible to protect their interests.