Oyo State Commissioner for Finance, Zacheaus Adelabu, in this encounter with Jaiyeola Andrews spoke on the N7 billion generated from the consolidation of the state’s accounts with banks and other innovative policies of the incumbent administration in the state
The recent decision of the Oyo State government to prune the number of its bank account from 614 to three has fetched the state government a sum of N7 billion.
The state Commissioner for Finance, Hon. Zacheaus Adelabu, who disclosed this in an interview with THISDAY said “We have just done bank account consolidation where we streamlined all the banking activities of the state government having a policy that the type of account you can open in a bank.
“Now we have only three accounts in all the commercial banks. We have investment account, revenue account and expenditure account and then we have made it a policy that we cannot have more than that. Before we came into office the state government had roughly 614 accounts and of course you know that is recipe for fraud, recipe for inefficiency and we have been able to stop that.”
Explaining that the exercise was intended to restore sanity into finance administration in the state, the commissioner said “We have been able to manage resources in this state by streamlining or blocking all the loopholes. I told you when I resumed the state account was 614 I did the account consolidation and in that one alone I realised more than N7billion from all those account that we had. We consolidated that one in the state and that has really taken us a long way.
“You remember that at the start of this administration, we have a mantra which we call Restoration, Transformation and Repositioning. Since the beginning, what we have done in the last one year is actually to restore, restate back to the track the state segments and then we start by re-engineering the administrative segments in the state. And then we started quite well by marshalling out our plans of how to transform the state and this has led to establishing what I call Socio-economic Team that is headed by the governor himself, supported by renowned professor of economics and some top talents within an2d outside the state to actually drive the economic plan of the state.
“We believe that the way to actually do this is to make sure that people within actually understand the plan. In the last one year, what we have done basically is to increase the level of awareness of the plan that we actually have for the state. If you observe very well, the number one thing that I will call precedent for every kind of economic development is peace. In the last one year, what you can say about us is that the state has been peaceful which is the funder mental and basic requirement for any economic development.
“We have been able to achieve that in the last one year; that the state is peaceful, people can do their business the way they should do it. And the next thing after that is the real infrastructural renewal that we have embarked on. When you were coming into the state, you would have seen the work that is going on, and as we are doing that we support it with beatification.
“When you are talking about economic development, you are talking about how to make the best use of the resources that you have; betterment of the larger part of the society, Oyo State specifically. We have done that reengineering in the way we administer the Ministry of Finance,” HE SAID.
The commissioner insisted the incumbent administration has laid a good foundation for real development, adding that the “people will start experiencing as we go into the second years of this administration.”
Dismissing the allegation that the present administration hadnt done much, the commissioner said “What we are doing is highly practical. We have rehabilitated more than 199 roads in the last one year and I want to see what the last administration had done in that respect. If you pass through Mokola you will see the fly-over bridge we are constructing. I want to see in the years of the previous administration where we have such. If you see our beautification in all part of Ibadan and in growing the city I want to see what the previous administration did in that respect.
“In the area of youth empowerment, it is on record that it is only this administration that employed up to 20,000 youths in our Youth Employment Scheme, you have them in environment, agric extension, you have them also in hospital management board, and recently bulk of them have been deployed to school to go and give remedial classes and even full classes to our children, I want to know what the previous administration did in that respect.
“If you look at the ways we manage the resources of the state, look at peaceful atmosphere of the state devoid of violence as in the past, look at the mutual cooperation and understanding between the executive and the legislature, compared to the last administration, I will rate us that we have really done well.
“He explained that the state civil servants are being taken care of, recalling that “Before we came in, one of the perennial problems was teachers’ salaries because it was being paid manually and you can imagine the kind of issue that you will have when you have to manually pay more than 75,000 teachers where some of them will have more than 15 months’ salary arrears not because government has not paid but because of the hiccups in the process and now that one has been automated.
“Ask any civil servants in the state now, none of them will tell you he or she has not received salary by the 26th or before the end of every month. This is the only administration that has paid 13th month salary. It has never been done in the history of the state, lots of our civil servants have also been trained and retrained.
“On pension, the state government under Governor Ajimobi has paid over N2 billion to pensioners, we have also paid 142 per cent increase which the last administration refused to pay. We had at the initial stage issues with the civil servants but when they discovered that our administration is transparent, honest with the ways we are dealing with them, we opened the book and they see that we could not have done better they became excited and cooperative.
Are there challenges on the way, the commissioner said a fore knowledge of the enormity of the problems had prepared the current administration for the challenges.
He said, “My own is not to complain about challenges and everything because personally, I am aware of it before we came here and we believe that we are eminently qualified to tackle the challenges. But like I said, what we have done is what I call resource optimisation and resource maximisation. Our policy is that if you want to get the best out of all the things I said we have and when we are spending we have it at the back of our minds that we want to use outcome approach.
“What do I mean by that? I mean in all the money we are spending how much are we going to gain from it, whether the people will get democracy dividends from it or the effects that it will have. I just told you that we have done account consolidation when I came in.
Like the Ministry of Finance our watchwords are accountability, transparency, and predictability; when you have a law make sure it is uniformly applied and the last one is participation that is get the people’s feelings of what they really want so that you spend the resources on what you what to spend it on,” he said.