Speech delivered by the Honourable Commissioner for Finance on the occasion of his First Year in Office.
Good morning Ladies & Gentlemen, I warmly welcome you to this online town hall meeting to commemorate my first year in office as the Commissioner for Finance, Oyo State.
We are living in very interesting times, hence why we have had to adapt and make use of technology to hold this town hall meeting. I also trust that we are practising social distancing in the respective conference rooms in the various MDAs.
For me, this meeting will serve two purposes:
- An avenue for us to look back, take stock and thank God for the past one year in office as well as take the opportunity to thank you all for your hard work and support in the past one year.
- Secondly, I want to use this meeting to get first hand feedback directly from the officers on the progress we have made together, recognize where we have dropped the ball, learn, unlearn and re-learn as appropriate, address any of your concerns and also provide a brief of our plans going forward.
It is said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step. Our journey of the four (4) year tenure, with me as the Commissioner for Finance under the leadership of His Excellency, Seyi Makinde started exactly a year ago this coming Saturday.
Before mentioning some of our achievements, I would like to acknowledge the tremendous effort and support I have received from the Chairman of the Oyo State Internal Revenue Service (OYSIRS), Aremo John F. Adeleke; the Accountant General of the State, Alhaji K.G. Bello; the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Adenike A. Fasina ,who was sworn in on 11th February, 2020 during the course of my first year in office, the Executive Secretary of the Pensions Board Mr. W.K Mustapha; and the Project Coordinator of the IUFMP, Mr Dayo Ayorinde.
I also specially recognize all the Directors in the Ministry of Finance together with all the Directors from the AG’s office, the Board of Internal Revenue, Pensions Board and IUFMP. All your efforts are noticed and appreciated and I sincerely thank you.
I must state that over the past one year, the Ministry of Finance has received incredible support and encouragement from His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde.
As you are all aware, during the campaign in 2019, His Excellency had made some finance related promises to the people of Oyo State in his manifesto document “Roadmap for Accelerated Development 2019 – 2023”.Using this as a foundation, the Ministry of Finance has been able to build on, and deliver these promises for the benefit of the people.
- For me, the most significant achievement in this past one year has been our ability as team to meet salary obligations to civil/public servants, retirees and political office holders on or before the 25th of every month (the GSM date). It is indeed worthy of celebration and is a clear departure from the past administration where salaries were owed for months. This is as a result of your dedication and hard work. Civil servants have been accorded the right respect and dignity they deserve and they now have the ability to plan knowing that their salary payments are regular. I hear this has also earned the Governor the nickname “Mr 25”;
- We also ensured that all civil servants in the State are presently being paid at least the minimum wage as well as payment of 13th month salary;
- We have increased the payment of gratuities of retired Civil/Public servants from the monthly sum of One Hundred and Fifty Million Naira (N150,000,000.00) to the sum of Two Hundred and Thirty Million Naira (N230,000,000.00);
- We have increased the monthly release of Car Loan grant to Civil /Public servants from Ten Million Naira (N10,000,000) to Twenty Million Naira (N20,000,000) and from Three Million Naira (N3,000,0000) to Fifteen Million (N15,000,000) for Post Primary Teaching Service Commission;
- We coordinated the World Bank SFTAS audit for 2018 performance and through a proactive approach, the State received N1.62bn as the SFTAS Performance Grant for 2018 assessment. Measures are being put in place to ensure improvement in the amount received at the next audit which is scheduled for next week and it is anticipated that we will achieve about $14.8m or N5.6bn based on our own analysis;
- We are pursuing all domestic indebtedness to Oyo State and we have been able to achieve a PAYE refund of 19.7bn from the Federal Government of which we have received N9.8bn out of this so far;
- We introduced a new Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) framework that will aggressively increase the IGR of the State by the end of year 2020. Although COVID-19 seriously impacted on our projections, we are back on the right trajectory, the average IGR for the period Jan – Aug 2020 is N3.6bn which is inclusive of the SFTAS achievement of N1.62bn and Federal PAYE refund of N9.8bn (so technically, our IGR has gone up by N1.7bn when compared with the average IGR of the previous administration);
- During the course of the year, we held the Oyo State Tax Stakeholder’s summit and the fallout from that meeting has seen improvement in the payment of taxes leading to increased IGR for the State. Like I said, when we came on board, the average IGR was in the region of 1.9bn. Presently, our IGR is about 3.6bnand we are not satisfied with that. We are looking to ensure that at a minimum, our IGR is able to cover the cost of salaries every month and that whatever we get as FAAC is channeled for capital projects;
- There has been no increase in tax or rates since the inception of this administration. This much was affirmed by His Excellency at the tax stakeholders’ summit. The emphasis is on broadening the existing tax base through enumeration, deployment of additional staff, closer monitoring of MDAs’ revenues and charging of current rates, levies and fees supervised by an informal sector lead consultant. There are steps being taken by the present administration to bring more people into the tax nets especially artisans and the informal sector in conjunction with their various cluster groups and associations. The Chairman has spearheaded this campaign and we are seeing very positive results;
- We also held the midterm review of the IUFMP and successfully commissioned the Eleyele Dam Project and thirteen (13) priority sites to help eradicate the menace of flood in Ibadan. We have started the process of implementing the 2nd pool of works which includes lots 3a & 3b, 4a & 4b and lot 5. Our goal is to ensure these projects are completed before the end of the project deadline of June 2022.
- The hot topic in town now is the N100bn Oyo State Government “backed” Private Company Bond issue. Let me state here that Oyo State is NOT issuing a bond. The information in the press about the State issuing a N100 billion bond is NOT correct. What we have done is to identify key and strategic projects which would facilitate the rapid development of Oyo State, expand our economy, bring in domestic and foreign investments and provide jobs for our people. The identified projects are:
- The development of the Ibadan Dry Port and Rail Corridor that would serve as an economic hub of the State – you can imagine the amount of commerce and trade that will be going on in this area;
- The upgrade and expansion of the Ibadan Airport – this will see more people traveling in and out of Ibadan especially considering that the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway is nearing completion and the rails would be up and running soon;
- Construction of the Ibadan Circular Ring Road – this road will facilitate connectivity of Oyo State to neighbouring States and enhance trade and commerce with those States and will be essential to the overall effectiveness of the Dry Port and industrial hub being done;
- The Construction/Upgrade and equipping of one Government hospital across three (3) senatorial districts in Oyo State – returning the glory days back to Oyo where we provide the best care services for Nigerians across all walks of life;
- The Construction of the 50-kilometre Iseyin-Ogbomoso Road – this will connect with the ongoing Moniya-Iseyin road construction and will now link the agricultural hubs to the State capital potentially increasing the trade volumes.
To finance these projects, the State is looking to work with competent private sector partners through Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) arrangement. Private Bonds are issued by companies and the bond route is favoured because bonds of this nature typically have a ten (10) to twenty (20) year repayment tenure by which time the projects would have since been completed and would be paying for themselves. So let us help correct the narrative out there; Oyo State is not issue a bond. However, the projects to be executed through our private sector partners is for our benefit and our children too.
Ladies & Gentlemen, these are just some of the key achievements we have recorded in one year.
In the coming year, we are looking to improve on our IGR collections, ensure we block all leakages that still exist in our revenue collection process so that we have funds to support the vision of His Excellency for a prosperous Oyo State.
Starting this month and as a means to encourage the members of staff who distinguish themselves, we would specially recognize those who excel in their duties and exceed expectations. There will be a process for this and I will be working with the heads of the MDAs to determine what to give as recognition for the staff of the month.
Charity they say begins at home, so for the month of August, I will like to appreciate an officer in the Ministry of Finance, Mr Babatunde Giwa, the PAO in the Debt Management Department. Please come over to the Conference Room upstairs for a short presentation.
We had planned to carry out some training in the early parts of the year but unfortunately COVID-19 happened and those plans had to be put on hold. Notwithstanding, we would be scheduling capacity development programs and trainings for members of staff to improve their skillsets and aid their self-development. These trainings will be specific and would be of benefit to both the participants and the finance family as a whole.
Ladies & Gentlemen, my only request is that you continue to remain focused, dedicated and committed to your work, your contribution in your respective capacities makes a difference.
If not for COVID-19, I would have personally gone round to give each and every one of you a warm handshake as a token of my appreciation for your support in the past year. Please continue to keep safe and follow all safety protocols.
Thank you for your attention, God bless you and God bless Oyo State.
Mr. Akinola Ojo
Commissioner for Finance, Oyo State
13 August, 2020