The assertion of Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State to boost the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state seems to have been coming to reality, as the IGR of the state has been increased from N300 million to N600 million within a year.
The governor disclosed this at the Governor’s Lodge, Osogbo, the state capital last Saturday at a dinner with bankers as part of the activities marking the 1st Anniversary of his administration, saying that the IGR was increased not by adding a kobo to taxes, but by blocking the leakages.
He also said that due to the financial re-engineering of his administration, the money being used to service the N18.3 billion loan obtained by ousted administration of Olagunsoye Oyinlola was now less than N100 million as against the situation he met on ground when the loan was being serviced with N800 million every month.
The governor noted that the state finances got so constricted that the government had to take N1 billion loan every month to be able to meet its statutory obligations, particularly salaries, a scenario which, he said, arrested development in the state.
According to him, inspite of the debt burden met on ground, his administration has been able to save not less than N32 billion by turning the state’s liabilities to asset and refused to spend all the excess crude funds taken since December last year.
Aregbesola who further noted that his administration was targeting how to commit the allocation from the federation account to projects only, said that by 2012, his administration would reach a target of N1 billion IGR every month and working towards increasing it on monthly basis.
Reiterating the commitment of his administration to ensure the economic development of the state, the governor said that not by increasing the taxes for now, but by making the people of the state viable and productive, calling on the banks to support his administration in all its programme.
While recalling that Osogbo in the past, was the hob of commerce, he said “that is what we want to revive by ensuring that we use our rail project to bring manufactured goods from Lagos to Osun to see that people come to buy goods at Lagos prices from far and near”, noting that the administration has been working with private organizations to build an international hob to drive the vision.
He further noted that his administration had agreed with a Chinese firm and four locomotives, 40 coaches for passengers and 40 wagons for goods have been manufactured on the order of the state, adding that what was left for the rail project to be functioning was to get final concession from the President who has promised to give the concession.
Of particular interest to his administration, Aregbesola said, was the support of the banks for cooperative societies for farmers, traders, artisans, micro, mini, semi, medium scale entrepreneurs and even motor drivers, noting that cooperatives would be the vehicles of the state economic revival.
Aregbesola who described security as a challenge for banks especially, said that his administration has been making moves to ensure that the people’s lives, properties and financial institutions are not exposed to insecurity.
To this end, the governor said the government has ordered the supply of five Armoured Personnel Carriers (APS) for the police in the state, while it is working on the establishment of Security Trust Fund, adding that the government would also create some security outfits to protect citizens and institutions in the state.
The representatives of some of the banks gave their commitment to support the government in all its programmes and policies.