The Ogun State government has attributed the current financial challenges being faced by the state to “personal financial mismanagement” of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the April 11 governorship election in the state, Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka, when he was the Managing Director of Gateway Holdings Limited, during the eight-year rule of Otunba Gbenga Daniel, as governor.
The government’s position was made known at a press briefing titled: “the State’s Financial Position”; addressed by the Commissioner for Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, in company of the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Taiwo Adeoluwa and Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Alhaji Yusupy Olaniyonu, in Abeokuta, on Saturday.
Adeosun said: “It was the financial mismanagement of the PDP candidate, Mr. Gboyega Isiaka, that has contributed to the financial challenges we have faced.
“It will be recalled that under his leadership, Gateway Holdings took a loan totalling N1.6 billion guaranteed by Ogun State Government, purportedly for the construction of a head office and a mega filling station.”
“It is 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.”
She noted that the financial performance of Amosun-led government had consistently perplexed its detractors, positing that: “they have, therefore, resorted to wild allegation of secret foreign loans.”
Adeosun clarified that the state had not taken any foreign loan. “Indeed, if the detractors of the Amosun administration 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 Debt Management Office (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 noted that: “It has always been our position that Ogun State is financially robust and we are confident that the present challenges will be overcome with our innovative strategy to accomplish our mission to rebuild our dear state. 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”.
On the recent release of N1.5 billion for the payment of salary deductions and co-operative dues, Adeosun noted that the initial delay was caused by the economic meltdown, following global fall in oil prices, positing that the state government had been meeting its financial obligations prior to October 2014, when the oil prices fell drastically.
“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 recognise the key role public wages play in the state economy and we have paid salaries up to March 2015,” Adeosun said.