Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State said his government would raise the state’s monthly internally generated revenue (IGR) to N5 billion in the next few years.
Uzodinma, who made the promise at the maiden stakeholders’ forum held on Friday in Owerri to mark Democracy Day said the state currently generates N1.2 billion monthly.
He also approved the payment of the new minimum wage for Imo workers with effect from July.
The governor said that he met an internal monthly revenue of N600 million when he came on board but had so far moved it to N1.2 billion.
He said his government had worked out the framework to achieve the new monthly target without increasing taxes or introducing new ones.
According to him, a combination of creative interventions and prudent warehousing of government receipts and inflows will do the magic.
Uzodinma said his government had abolished all forms of consultancy so that every kobo belonging to the state would go straight into the IGR coffers without passing through a middle man christened ‘consultant’.
“I can also proudly announce that we have managed to save an average of N2 billion every month from this exercise.
“We have plugged leakages in the civil service, public service and the pension payrolls.
“This will increase as the months go by and heads of various ministries, departments and agencies imbibe the new culture of transparency and probity.
“We have also established a digital template, which ensures that all payments, into and out of government coffers must be automated.
“This is to ensure proper accountability,’’ he said.
Uzodinma said that his government had equally taken proactive measures to safeguard the health of Imo people in the face of the dreaded coronavirus pandemic.
“’We have taken immediate steps to prevent and control the spread of the virus in the state.
“We provided 30 ambulances, one for each Local Government Area and three for the state capital.
“We also provided six well-equipped isolation and treatment centres.
“Each of the ambulances is connected to the call centre so that any emergency development reported to the call centre is handled with dispatch.’’
He noted that the government has not relented in carrying out aggressive public awareness campaigns on safety protocols for COVID-19.
“We have used all available medium; electronic, print and social media to carry the message of safety measures to the people.
“It is to the glory of God that Imo is one of the states with the lowest COVID-19 incidents,’’ he said.
On democracy, Uzodinma said that May 29 marked the end to impunity but a triumph of the rule of law.
“I believe that President Muhammadu Buhari deserves commendation for his courage and foresight in rightly legalising June 12 as the official democracy day celebration for the country.
“Without the travails and struggles of June 12, the final retreat of the military to the barracks on May 29, would have been actualised.
“June 12 is your day! It is the day of Nigerian voter; it is the day that assures us that no force on earth, nor intensity of capricious manipulation can trample the collective will of the people,’’ Uzodimma said.
He added that democracy was so important, as it was the only system of government that guarantees accountability.
“Democracy without accountability and transparency is worthless.’’