Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun has disclosed that his administration would be funding the larger part of the 2021 budget with Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
Abiodun, who urged the people of the state to continue to support the present administration in the state by discharging their civic duties, declared his administration would be mindful of the need to avoid unnecessary tax burden on its citizens.
The governor stated this on Monday at the virtual consultative meeting with the representatives of the people of Ogun East Senatorial District in his office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta on the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and 2021 budget.
He decried the negative impact of the COVID-19 to the economy of the state, noting that the current year’s budget was reviewed downward from N450bn to N280bn in consonance with the economic realities in the wake of the pandemic.
He added that “20% of 2020 Revised Appropriation was understandably allocated to the Health Sector”.
“Despite the steep declines in revenues from the Federation Account, we shall rely more on our internally generated revenue from Ogun State Internal Revenue Service, (OGIRS) and other revenue sources. In this regard, we have strengthened the OGIRS, including the recent appointment of a seasoned professional as the Chairman.
“Whilst being mindful of the need to avoid unnecessary tax burden on our citizens, we appeal to them to continue to support us by discharging their civic duties in our joint task of building the state of our future together, we shall continue to give utmost priority to capital project investments in Education, Health, and Infrastructure Sectors,” Abiodun stressed.
The governor said his administration would continue to sustain payment of salaries, pensions and gratuities within limited resources, pointing out that his administration would continue to carry out a downward review of overhead expenses at reasonable percentage against revenue generation prospects of Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the state.
While noting that the recent payment of the new minimum wage was in line with the agreement reached with the organised labour in the state, he urged labour unions in the state to be considerate in their demands at a time government was also struggling with finances.
He, however, said the government will give utmost priority to education, health, agriculture and road infrastructure, as it prepares for next year’s budget.
Abiodun pointed out that his administration would be proactive in the coming year by latching on this years’ experience to improve on service delivery, revenue drive and public-private partnership.
He said the hosting of the town hall meeting was a symbolic approach of inclusiveness, fairness, justice, equity and respect to the rule of law for which the government policies are known.
The governor called on the people to contribute and take maximum advantage of the platform to express their views, assuring that their comments, recommendations, proposals, feedback would be adequately and appropriately considered for the preparation of the Year 2021 budget.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Budget Planning, Olaolu Olabimtan, said the aim of the administration was to eliminate poverty in the State. He lauded the people for their valuable support which has led to tremendous improvement in various sectors.
The Commissioner for Finance and Chief Economic Adviser to the Governor, Mr Dapo Okubadejo, in his remark, described 2020 as the most challenging on the economy of the state, noting government would look inward for quick recovery of all sectors.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Governor’s Elders Advisory Council, Oluneye Okuboyejo, while calling on the state government to help farmers in the Ogun East Senatorial district on issues relating to land ownership and encroachment, said that the issues had made it difficult for farmers in the area to think of expanding their farms.
The chairperson, Ogun State Chapter of the Association of Women Entrepreneurs, Mrs Olude Oluwakemi and her counterpart in the Women Support and Care Initiative, Mrs Omolara Quadri, called on the state government to give more emphasis to women empowerment in the state by building their capacity.
Some of the participants which included youth and women groups, religious leaders, elder statesmen and women and Labour leaders, who contributed at the meeting, called for the creation of more jobs, execution of more capital projects and empowerment of the youth and women in the coming fiscal year.