Dr. Wale Bolorunduro, a former Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Economic Planning in the State of Osun, has again challenged Governor Adegboyega Oyetola’s administration to make available to the public the actual amount it had expended on loans repayment.
According to Bolorunduro, the Oyetola administration is overflogging debts repayment to smear the image of its predecessor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
Bolorunduro, in a statement on Tuesday, stated that the current administration had been ‘hypocritically overflogging debts repayment without mentioning the refunds from the Federal Government and the assets left behind by Aregbesola.
The former commissioner was reacting to the recently released audited accounts of the state for the 2020 Fiscal Year.
Bolorunduro said the current administration had been giving inaccurate figures as the amount of loans repayment to create an impression of huge indebtedness allegedly caused by the Aregbesola administration.
He maintained that Aregbesola is responsible for the transformation and modernisation of the state through massive infrastructure projects, arguing that not admitting the ex-governor’s contributions is a deliberate attempt to undermine him and to obliterate records by the Oyetola administration.
The statement reads in part, “Not attributing the increase in the annual Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR) to the prior infrastructural developments, implemented by the revenues and debt financing of the state under Aregbesola is a deliberate attempt to undermine Aregbesola and to obliterate his records.
“Therefore, ‘overflogging the debt repayment without reporting the increase in economic activities, the refunds from the Federal Government, realisation of the appreciated assets and activities brought about by those investments, is an attempt to stain Ogbeni and hang the burden of debts on his neck perpetually.
“The different figures on loans repayments prompted me to write emails to the current Commissioner of Finance, Mr. Bola Oyebamiji, to check his figures on the loans repayment of N67bn by Oyetola in 33 months (up to July 2021).
“At least, I am covered by the Freedom of Information Act. Previous publications by the sympathisers of the government put the figure as at March 2021 at N55bn, and it seems the figure is just racing towards a predetermined end to probably, prove some ulterior motives.”
Bolorunduro had last week given the government same challenge, but as at the time of filing this report, the government was yet to respond to him.
The former commissioner had said: “The current administration sometimes last month first claimed that it had paid N55 billion on debts. Last week, the government also claimed to have paid a debt of N67 billion. I sent an email to the incumbent Commissioner for Finance, Bola Oyebamiji, where I requested him to check those figures, but he is yet to respond to my mail. After four days, I sent another email and listed the debts portfolio passed on by Aregbesola. I will not comment now so as to allow time to get the feedback.
“When I first resumed as a commissioner, the government had already accepted an offer of N25 billion from First Bank and the person who wrote the cover letter, forwarding it to me, is the incumbent GovernorOyetola. So, if we are talking about debts, there is nobody in Aregbesola’s cabinet who can feign ignorance.
“We have external debts, which includes the one obtained by Chief Obafemi Awolowo and the government of old Oyo State to do some projects back then. Also, Oyinlola collected N18.38 billion. If Aregbesola had not done anything other than to continue with Oyinlola‘s debt and external loan, he would have still pay N21bn back in his first term on inherited loans.
“But he wanted to settle for infrastructural developments; Aregbesola also obtained loans to build some infrastructures. We all can testify to the fact that Aregbesola is the one who gave the State of Osun, most especially Osogbo, a new look.
“Aregbesola paid 85 per cent on the first bond and about 70 per cent on the second bond before he left office. At least, he repaid up to N25bn as debts he incurred during his first term. He collected a conventional bond of N30 billion and that have been paid off since July 2019. Oyetola paid nine months out of 84 months of the first bond.
“It shows Aregbesola has paid most of the money before he left. The second tranche was the Sukuk loan used for the construction and furnishing of those mega schools in Osun. The second tranche finished in March, 2020.
“Aregbesola saved N15bn for Local Government Councils and borrowed N10 billion to add to it, making N25bn, which was used for the construction of 10km roads in each of the local governments of the state.
“Before we sold all the construction loans, totalling N65bn to the Federal Government, Aregbesola had already paid N15bn out of the money. During his second term, Aregbesola repaid a total sum of N102billion as debts repayment.
“In April, 2020, the Federal Government stopped deduction of loan service from the state due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The deduction amounts to N400million in a month but the FG granted reliefs for the states since April 2020. So, out of the 33 months of Oyetola, CBN and Federal Ministry of Finance deferred loan repayments on CBN/FGN-backed facilities for 17 months. So, those bringing out the figures on debts repayment should remember that.
“The current regime is boasting of paying full salaries due to the fact that federal allocation has risen and the loan repayments have reduced as well as the payroll itself. Also, the IGR of the state has increased due to the work done by Aregbesola.”