By Emman Ovuakporie,
OSUN- PEEVED by the magnitude of undeclared crude oil and gas during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola has said the inability of the previous administration to control theft in the sector wrecked the Nigerian economy leading to recession.
Aregbesola stated this while receiving in audience, members of the House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education and Services at the Government House.
He also disclosed that his administration which has received unwarranted attacks from the media is making the best of a bad economic situation in its handling of workers salaries in the state.
The governor’s assertion came on the heels of issues of teachers welfare highlighted by a member of the Committee, Rep Kehinde Agboola who led the team of lawmakers, stating that his administration was paying salaries as at when due including paying up to 13th month before the dip in the financial fortune of the state.
“If you notice, the administration has received lots of negative media comments, but I rarely respond, not because I don’t know what to say, but I simply didn’t see any reason why I should be joining issues with people in the media when I know that the facts are different from the pictures they paint.
“For the records, I paid 100percent of basic salaries up until 2013. However, Nigerians easily forget that in June of 2014, calamity struck the Nigerian economy when a huge magnitude of crude oil was being stolen under the previous government which adversely affected the revenue from the federation account, and the government then repeatedly recorded slide in the revenue generation.
“The inexplicable theft of crude oil reduced our production capacity to about 600,000 bpd. This led to serious inability on the part of the Federal Government to raise enough funds to distribute to other tiers of government which further brought down the allocations to our state.
The June, 2014 calamity of stolen oil also gutted the internationl oil market, and if the law of demand and supply can apply to the oil industry, the consequences of under-supply occasioned by activities of oil thieves which reduced our ability to meet our production quota, coupled with the global fall of oil price, adversely affected our revenue which led to our owing a huge sum of money from June 2014 to 2016”, Aregbesola said.
The governor explained that his administration had to in the face of the financial challenges borrow money and come up with a rational way of applying its meagre resources in order to maximise result.
“To tell you how committed we are to workers, we had to borrow as much as N25billion to satisfy the needs of our workers hoping that it would be short-lived.
“It was clear to us that living as if nothing is happening may lead us into chaos, so we categorised them into the vulnerable, the critically vulnerable and so on. And we started our intervention based on the understanding we all had.
That was how we started prioritising the salary of workers from level 7 downward. Workers from level 8 where given half salary or 50percent of their due, when the revenue improved, we increase the second category to 75% every month”, he added.
Leader of the team of lawmakers, Rep Kehinde Agboola (PDP, Ekiti), had in his opening address commended the administration of Governor Aregbesola for its investment in the future of the state and Nigeria by virtue of his intervention in the education sector.
“I’m particularly more impressed because you’ve helped my generation where issues of crisis would be minimised via the provision of good and quality education.
“We have gone round and seen for ourselves what you’ve put on ground. We saw that you’ve just awarded projects for 2015 and we urge you to put more pressure on the contractors to speed up the spate of work, because we don’t want a situation where funds are kept, leading to waste of resources.
“I must commend your good leadership for the people of Osun and we have seen a leader whom others should emulate”, Agboola had said.