•Say Ogun earns N6bn as IGR
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, has advocated an overhaul of the existing revenue allocation formula in the country to make it fairer and equitable.
At a time most states in the country are groaning over dwindling resources and are unable to pick their wage bills, the governor said his state has recorded an increase in internally generated revenue to the tune of N6 billion per month.
Amosun, who addressed participants of the Course Nine of Executive Intelligence Course of the Institute of Security Studies in Abuja, said though his did not support restructuring the country but anything that will allow for equal distribution of projects, dividends of democracy will be welcomed.
While buttressing his point, Amosun said his state has the highest number of industries in the country today, contributing significantly to the revenue generation efforts of the government, but is still placed 25th in terms of revenue sharing in the country based on indices generated several years ago and not on present contribution to the federation account.
“I believe that if our institutions had been strengthened, people will not need to call for the restructuring of the country at all because we will, abide by our constitution. But you have a scenario where people do what they like, even in project distribution, dividends of democracy among other.
“Look at fiscal federalism, if you had followed what is in the constitution and everybody believe that the institution is greater than all of us, we will not be where we are today. So, for me, any restructuring that will affect the unity of the country, I am not for it.
“But a restructuring that will say, there are certain thing that just need be done differently, I want that to happen. For example, in Nigeria today, Ogun State has the largest number of industries, but when the money is being distributed from the federations account, the state is placed about the 25th position. These are indices that have been taken several years back and probably not in relation with what you contribute to the federal purse.
“For me, that is restructuring and maybe reforming the revenue allocation formula, or people calling for state police. I have said I will support state police, but that does not mean we will not have federal police.
“It is just about making amend I some areas, but not things that will not uproot our existence as a nation and those things that divide us. We should talk more and dwell more on things that hit us as a nation. It is even in diversity that we have our strength.”
One said: Amosun also spoke of the need to strengthen the nation’s institutions as a means of laying solid foundation for the development of the country.
Speaking on efforts to improve the state revenue, Amosun said: “When we came on board, we introduced cashless. We realised that anything that will make you come in contact with cash is subject to manipulation and so, we said we what cashless.
“For example, in one of our institutions, the highest revenue they were collecting was a little over N300 million and we told them this is what we wanted to do. The next time, they were able to generate N1.4 billion and we ask ourselves, where has that money gone into in the last few years.
“As a government, we introduced what is now known as TSA in August 2011 when the present Minister of Finance was our Commissioner for Finance. When we came, we had over 700 different accounts and I ask myself how do we monitor all those accounts?
“So, I told all the banks that I need one account from them, but if you like, you can have different subheads in your banks and jot that the government will have over 700 accounts. We also said we will partner with a maximum of three banks and today, we are happy for its that is why I can look them in the face and challenge the, to tell me the state that has performed like we have done,” he said.