- Reaping Aregbesola’s Labour On Osun
- Facts, Figures on Osun Finances Under Former, Present Govs
- Govt Insincere On Loan Repayment
This report is an excerpt from the remarks of Dr Wale Bolorunduro, former Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Economic Planning in the State of Osun. The financial expert served in the first term of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola with the current Governor, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola as the Chief of Staff then. He made some expository comments about the Aregbesola and Oyetola’s administration at the last Thursday meeting of The Osun Progressives, a caucus of the All Progressives Congress in the state.
Dr Wale Bolorunduro has explained how it is easy for Governor Adegboyega Oyetola’s administration to continue paying salaries of workers of the state without stress and while the introduction of modulated salary was necessary in the second term of Aregbesola.
Speaking to fact and figure, Bolunduro said: “The salaries paid by Aregbesola are different from the one being paid by the current regime of Oyetola. If you look at the audit account the current government presented last Monday, it is claimed a sum of N28.7 billion is the annual wages of civil servants in the state. Let us even say they used N29 billion to pay civil servant in a year. If you divide that by 12 months, it amounts to N2.4 billion. Anybody who knows about Government Accounting will know that such amount does not include pensions. So, all the salaries the Oyetola’s administration is paying, including pension, is not more than N2.9 billion in a month.
“During Aregbesola’s era, 20,000 OYES Cadets were being paid salaries amounting to N200million. If we add that to the N2.9 billion earlier calculated, it gives us N3.1 billion. If we add salaries and allowances of stakeholders appointed into state statutory and participatory boards amounting to another 200million naira monthly, that should take us to about 3.3billion naira. Likewise, the number of civil servants are not the same. The salaries being paid by Aregbesola every month was nothing less than N3.4 billion then. Aregbesola first employed 5,000 people into the civil service. He later employed another 3,000 people. So the wage bills differ on one hand.
“We all know that what the states in Nigeria depend on is the federal allocation from the sale of crude oil. The money being made from crude oil started to reduce in 2014. It reduced in 2015 and 2016 from 75 dollar per barrel to 40 dollars per barrel as average annual price in 2016. It didn’t improve until mid 2018. The revenues of Aregbesola dropped accordingly. That was the reason Aregbesola could no longer pay full salaries to some civil servants in the state then.” In 2019, the average annual price of crude oil was about 67 dollars per barrel and post Covid 19, the average price for the eight month of 2021 is 66 dollars per barrel. So revenues accruing to the current state government have increased on the other hand. The two factors have contributed to the easiness of payment of salary.
Speaking on the current position of the state’s Internally Generated Revenue, the former commissioner said: “The current government claimed its revenue for a year is N99 billion. If we divide that by 12, that gives us N8.3 billion in a month. Aregbesola did not collect such amount during his second term. Even during his first time, our revenue was not more than N72 billion in the peak year.
“Also, the Internally Generated Revenue of the state has gone up because of all the plans that Aregbesola had put in place during his tenure. Aregbesola ought to be commended for the improvement in the IGR because he laid the foundation for it. The Oyetola’s administration is reaping Aregbesola’s effort. “When we resumed office, Osun was generating N3.6 billion annually but as at the time Aregbesola was leaving office, Osun was making N13.8 billion annually. I am talking from a position of fact. Finance, Economic Planning and Budget were under me then.
“I am the one who wrote that the approval of all memos must pass through the Chief of Staff, Mr Oyetola who is now the Governor. There is no file that would not pass through the Chief of Staff then, including my own files. Only two people’s files didn’t pass through our Chief of Staff then; the Deputy Governor and the Secretary to the State Government.”
On the debt profile of the state, Bolorunduro 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 debt portfolio passed on by Aregbesola. I will not comment now so as to allow time to get the feedback.
“When I first resume 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 Governor, Oyetola. So, if we are talking about debt, there is nobody in Aregbesola’s cabinet who can feign ignorance.
“We have external debt 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 21 billion back in his first term on inherited loan. But he wanted to set to 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 Osun State 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 N25 billion as debt 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.
Aregbesola saved N15 billion for Local Government Councils and borrowed N10 billion to add to it making N25 billion which was used for the construction of 10km roads in each of the local governments of the state. Before we sold all the construction loan, totaling 65 billion to the Federal Government, Aregbesola had already paid N15 billion out of the money. During his second term, Aregbesola repaid a total sum of N102 billion as debt repayment.
“The first tranche of the bond finished in July, 2019 and the second tranche finished in March, 2020. In April, 2020, the Federal Government stopped deduction of loan service from the state due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The deduction amounts N400million in a month but the FG granted relieve 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 debt 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.
“So, I am waiting for the reply to my email before I comment on the figure being circulated by the state government and their social media rats.
“Governance is about doing the needful. Aregbesola adjusted Osun Civil Servants salaries scale three times during his first term. That was in 2011, 2012 and 1013. Even with the modulated salary structure, Aregbesola did not stop the promotion of civil servants. So, those claiming he stopped civil servants promotion are liars.
“During Aregbesola’s second term when oil price came down, he set up a committee to look into how to address the financial crisis. The committee had labour leaders as members and it was headed by Comrade Hassan Sunmonu and the then Chief of Staff, Oyetola, headed the government delegate. The committee concluded that instead of retrenchment, the modulated salaries structure should be taken. Again, Oyetola was the representative of government then.
Bolorunduro listed some of the projects which the loans obtained by Aregbesola’s administration were expended on.
He said: “These are some of the assets created and investments done with the money borrowed by Aregbesola and being enjoyed by the current Government
1. Renovation of Comprehensive Hospital in Ijebu Ijesha and Ila and other 9 federal constituencies. After renovating these hospitals, we applied for Saving One Million Lives Grant from the Federal Government. The grant is $20million and Governor Oyetola is the one who collected the fund and at least, it could be sold at 360 naira per dollars, totaling 7.2 billion naira
2. Central Bank of Nigeria wanted to take over Omoluabi Mortgage Bank from us unless we inject some money to recapitalize it and there was no money in the state. We had to borrow some amount to put into the bank and that is the reason the bank is still ours today. We borrowed N2 billion to retain that bank through structured leverage capitalization and before Aregbesola left office, the total assets of that bank was over N5 billion. I guess Oyetola’s government has sold some shareholding, which could worth N2 billion in that bank now.
3. Aregbesola built some buildings in UNIOSUNTH formerly LAUTECH Osogbo and equipped them. This gave the hospital the platform to do some things it was unable to do before, which upgraded the status. Dentistry was not done in the hospital before. We borrowed N500 million to equipped that hospital.
4. When we resume office, Baba Awolowo had bequeathed some shares of blue chip companies, which we met and there was a particular shares bought by Oyinlola through loan and that is Zenith shares. Oyinlola was unable to pay the money, so, AMCON collected the shares, claiming we owed N1.5 billion. Aregbesola begged and we paid N600,000 to take back that shares. If they add that shares with one we met and sell them today, it will be up to N3.5 billion.