Edo Lost N10b In Federal Revenue Under Jonathan –Oshiomhole | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Edo Lost N10b In Federal Revenue Under Jonathan –Oshiomhole

Posted: Jul 11, 2015 at 10:10 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

•  Backs Labour’s Demand For Wage Increase

By Chesa Chesa,  Abuja


Edo state lost about N10 billion over four years because of unshared proceeds from the Federation Account during the Goodluck Jonathan administration, according to the state governor, Adams Oshiomhole.

Addressing newsmen on Friday after he met behind closed-doors with President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Oshiomhole who was accompanied by former governor of Rivers state, Rotimi Amaechi, said the loss in federal revenue suffered by Edo state, and others was because the Jonathan government did not share with the states all federally collected revenues as required by law.

He gave the example of the $1.6 billion remitted last month by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) firm and smaller amounts by Shell and others  as taxes, and which was only shared for the first time as bail out to the three tiers of government.

Oshiomhole explained that if the remittances had been done under the Jonathan administration, with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the Finance Minister, the money would not have gotten to the states.

He concluded that Edo state alone, which he described as one of the lowest federal revenue earners, would have received up to N10 billion over a period of the last four years if NLNG taxes were shared out to states.

The governor thus commended the new approach to transparency and respect for regulations adopted by the new administration of President Buhari, a reason the governors are happy with him.

His words: “It is not just about the bail out, but it is completely a new approach that anybody who is a stakeholder in the matters involving the funds of the federation can see through everything.

“What was extraordinary is that the NLNG has over the years been remmitting funds to the federal government but the federal government illegally refused to transfer these funds to the consolidated revenue fund which belongs to the three tiers of government.

“All that President Buhari has done, in line with his commitments to ensuring that all funds and monies accruing to the federation account are so remitted, is that he has directed the CBN to transfer the funds to the consolidated account.

“And our commissioners along with federal officials met last week to share those funds in line with the revenue allocation formula. If this money had come under the last President, it will have gone the same way as in previous years.

“The NLNG is not starting fresh to remit. It has been doing that every year plus taxes paid by, I think Shell, amounting to about $500 million added to the amount of $1.6 billion from NLNG that total to the amount of $2.1 billion. And that was the money that was shared.

“That was why the correction was made when a section of the media reported that we have collected money from Excess Crude Account. No money was taken from Excess Crude Account.

“I think that was what is refreshingly new. Now imagine if what Edo state got from this renewed transparency and total compliance to the spirit and letter of the Constitution in Section 80.

“If what we got last week courtesy of this renewed commitment to transparency, if we had gotten this these past four years consecutively, we would have made about N10 billion.

“So by the same token Edo State government had lost N10 billion under President Goodluck Jonathan and under Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala,” he stressed.

The governor also pointed out that the Nigerian worker, especially in the public sector, remains grossly underpaid, hence the demand for wage increase by labour movements makes economic sense.

According to him: “I believe the nigerian worker is under paid, particularly in the public sector.

“If a worker is confronted with endless rise in costs of living and his wages are stagnant, obviously whether you know it or not, he is already experiencing pressures on his living standard.

“If you look at the minimum wage when it was fixed, the exchange rate was about N140 to a dollar, so N18,000 was about $130 a month. Now at N200 per dollar, N18,000 is about $90.”

He however, explained the need for all tiers of government to vigorously fight the scourge of ‘ghost workers’ using every means including modern technology, so as to cut down on financial leakages in government payroll.

While clarifying that Edo state government was not owing workers any salaries or allowances, Oshiomhole said efforts were being made to boost internally generated revenue.

However, he acknowledged that some states were better placed to get more from IGR because of large number of industries and economic activities going on there.

“For clarity, Edo State government is not indebted to any worker. We are up to date in our salary obligations. We are up to date in our allowances.

“I believe that some states have made a lot of progress in the area of internally generated revenue. But also some states are better placed to make more money or raise more money from internally generated revenue.

“For example, if you have the luck of number of industries being located in your state, now the fact of the location of those businesses means that you have people and organizations that are taxable.

“Now if you are in a state where the private sector is completely absent, no matter how hard you look inward, you are not likely to find much. So, we have to appreciate sometimes when people make this statement that states should look inwards”, he stated.

Oshiomhole defended his directives to cut down overhead costs and security votes of local government chairmen in the state because he was applying same at the state level and in tune with with financial status of the state and country.