By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan.
Oyo state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi on Wednesday hinted that it was President Muhammadu Buhari that mandated that 50% of the Paris Club fund share to states be used for workers’ welfare .
Speaking at the 2017 Inter-Faith Service of the Oyo State government held at the Governor’s office, Ibadan, Governor Ajimobi disclosed that in compliance with President Buhari’s suggestion,Oyo state has concluded plans to ensure payment of all the outstanding salary arrears, pensions and other entitlements owed civil servants in the state with its share of the Paris Club fund.
“President Buhari wants to help the people, he wants us to stop the sufferings in the country and he has introduced so many poverty alleviation programmes to ameliorate the sufferings in the country. The president has suggested that we use 50% of the Paris Club fund for workers’ welfare and we are ready to do that whenever we get our share of the funds as we did with the bailout funds given to us by the federal government”he said.
Governor Ajimobi pointed out that for now, the state government is looking for ways to reduce its cost and that every attempt to reduce it, “is disservice to a certain group of people”, saying,“we have suspended car loans, subventions to higher institutions, allowances, assistance to organisations/individuals among others. All these, are without uproar from the people and we are all aware of the criticisms that trailed the withdrawal of subventions to higher institutions”.
“Maintenance of our infrastructure and executing new ones have been extremely difficult. Oyo State is a big state. Ibadan alone is bigger than seven states and to govern Oyo state is a big responsibility with big problem and difficult to manage. Our IGR is still abysmally low and allocations from federal allocations continue to dwindle”.
According to the governor, over 50% of state “IGR is from PAYE and our average monthly allocation from FG is N2.5bn while salaries, subventions, pensions, overhead cost and allowances still stand at about N5.2bn. We need survival strategies to block loopholes, renewed IGR drive and restructuring of the public and civil service for optimal performance so that the government will meet its obligations to the people”.
Governor Ajimobi stressed that his administration “is engaging in survival strategies to meet its obligations to the entire citizens and workers of the state” by blocking loopholes, restructuring of the public and civil service, improved Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) and cut unnecessary government wastage.
The governor pointed out that government as an enterprise requires funds to serve its citizens and is looking for ways to cut cost and meet its obligations to the people despite the dwindling revenue being realized by the government.
Emphasizing that Oyo state has not collected its share of the Paris Club over excess deduction funds,he said whatever the state gets, would be used for the welfare of the workers as recommended by the federal government.
Governor Ajimobi however pleaded with the workers in the state to support his administration in its revenue generating drive by looking for ways of sourcing for money.
“N1.5 billion IGR is too small with what we get from the monthly allocation. What we are saying is that there is need to look at ways of making money, government cannot function without money. So government as an enterprise requires sufficient fund to be able to be efficient in service delivery, let me reiterate at this juncture that civil service is the engine room of every government”.