From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
The Ogun State Government has cleared the air on domestic debt owed by the state, saying the figures given to it by the past administration did not capture the entire liabilities it left behind.
The government said not less than N50 billion in financial liabilities were not accounted for in the financial report handed over to Governor Dapo Abiodun in May 2019.
A statement in Abeokuta on Monday by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Dapo Abiodun, Kunle Somorin, said the omitted amount was financial liabilities incurred by the immediate past administration due to unpaid pensions, gratuities and outstanding staff salaries ‘which surprisingly were not captured in the books left behind for the new government.
‘We only got to know about this amount in the course of our carrying out due diligence on Ogun State finances shortly after we took over. And as a transparent government, committed to being accountable, we had to disclose this for the first time, to give a true picture of the State’s indebtedness.
‘Governor Dapo Abiodun has started paying the retirees and pensioners affected, with the first tranche of N500 million paid to them last month. Every quarter the governor has promised to pay them at least N500 million until everyone is paid,’ the statement stated.
While noting the recent report by the Debt Management Office (DMO, on the state’s domestic debt, the statement said the omitted figures by the immediate past administration in the state had an impact on the DMO report.
‘The increase in the 2020 total debt of the state was due to an undisclosed gratuity and staff liabilities of about N50 billion not recognized in the State financial statements in May 2019 at the end of the previous administration. In order to show the complete picture of all state liabilities, the current administration booked the gratuities and staff liabilities in the financial statements of the state hence the increase,’ the statement explained.
The statement then restated the commitment of the Abiodun-led administration to transparency and accountability in all matters, including financial, while remaining steadfast in the completion of all projects inherited as well as those initiated by the present government.
‘Residents of the state can attest to how Governor Abiodun is completing all the abandoned projects of his predecessor and commencing signature projects and roads.
‘The governor has concentrated on his Building Our Future Together with special attention to Infrastructures, Health, Education and Agriculture.
‘Also, the welfare and security of the people which are the primary functions of Government are equally on the front-burner,’ the statement concluded.