By Abiodun Lawal
The Ogun State House of Assembly has asked the state Commissioner for Finance, Mr Adewale Osinowo, to furnish the House with detailed documents on how the Paris Club Fund was spent.
The assembly members stated this while questioning the commissioner over the financial status of the state at the assembly complex in Abeokuta on Tuesday.
The lawmakers, who were not satisfied with the presentation of the commissioner compelled him to provide details of the beneficiaries of the funds.
Mr Olusola Bankole, the Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, said that the invitation of the commissioner was not to witch-hunt but on issues bordering on accountability and transparency.
Bankole explained that the House of Assembly members represented various constituencies, adding that it was important for the people to know everything that had to do with the finances of the state.
“All of us are public figures, we are working towards one goal, you must be able to keep us abreast with what is going on in the state.
“How do we defend the government we are part of if we don’t have information, people call us names, they call us “rubber stamped”, we are not happy with this.
“You must tell us how many people benefited from deductions, severances should be separated from salaries, let us know where we are today.
Mr Wale Alausa, the House Minority Leader, stated that he was interested in the Consolidated Revenue Fund, saying that monies like the Paris Club fund were meant to go through the account.
Alausa (PDP – Ijebu Ode), said that there were information that other monies were on the way, saying that it would be nice if the money were put in the revenue fund and were accountable for.
In his response, Osinowo said that the ministry was ready to furnish the House the necessary documents that would back up how the Paris Club fund was spent.
Osinowo explained that prior to 2011 the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state was N700 million monthly, saying that the state now generated over N6billion monthly.
The commissioner added that the Paris Club fund was spent judiciously, adding that every details on the spending would be forwarded to the members.
“Prior to 2011, the IGR of the state was N700 million monthly but through the handwork of Gov Ibikunle Amosun, we are now generating close to N6billion to N7billion that is how we have been able to cope with payment of salaries and other expenses.
“This Paris Club fund emerged we now look at it that this is a way also to now minimise our position, our exposure of the state.
“We now look at it that okay, we were giving N10.675 billion and we look at it that for us to meet certain expenses, we need more funds, we did a lot of scenarios and we decided to add N1.9billion to it giving us a position of N12.5 billion.
“Salaries and other severance allowances was N5.9billion that day, giving us a total of N12.5 billion that we have paid till date, that’s how we spent the money.
“We are ready to furnish the House on what we have paid on deductions, gratuities and what we have paid on salaries and severance.
The commissioner explained that the Federal Government had said that 50 per cent of the fund must be used for workers emoluments.
“The Federal Government has said that 50 per cent of the fund must be used for workers emoluments, we are not there yet because we still have outstanding.
“On ground net and tenement rates, before now for the whole year, we have not been able to get up to N50million, as at today, just the introduction of land use, we are close to N210 million.