THOSE AGAINST BOND ARE ENEMIES OF OGUN STATE, SAYS COMMISSIONER
As the Ogun State House of Assembly prepares to subject the attempt by the state government to access bond from the capital market to public debate, the Commissioner for Water Resources and Rural Development, Akogun Kola Onadipe has berated those against accessing the fund.
Onadipe, who is also the Vice Chairman of the state Energy Council, described those who do not want the state to access the bond as enemies of the state. His words: ''It is not about Governor Gbenga Daniel or any other individuals. It is about the progress of the state. You must be able to get credit to run the business of governance.
Explaining the rationale behind the bond by the state government, he said: 'The credit can be in form of short or long term. If it is long term, you know it is about bond, but if it is short, you know it is expensive. What long term does is to negotiate your short term, so that you can have a shorter repayment.''
Continuing, he said: 'Lagos earn, about N15 billion every month, they collect between five and six billion from the Federal Government every month as allocation, yet there is still need for them to borrow because they need to drive a lot of developmental projects.'
Asking rhetorically, Onadipe said: 'Do you want to wait for 20 years, when your economy would have boomed before you tar your roads and do other necessary things. You have a budget of 100 billion passed in 2009.
'The projection of the performance of the budget was two billion allocation monthly from the Federal Government. The maximum internally generated revenue that we have achieved is N1.2 billion. If you multiply two billion by 12 months, it gives you 24. If you add 24 to 12, it gives you 36. Additional source of revenue for the state is excess crude oil is about N1.5 billion which comes may be four times in a year.
'Let us assume it is two billion and it has come four times a year that is eight billion. Add it to 36 billion, that will be N44 billion and they passed 100 billion budget, how then will anybody finance the balance. Inside the budget, there was capital receipt, it is for interest on short and long term loans. With this somebody or group will wake up one day and ask banks not go give credit to the state government. It is nothing but evil against the state government as well as the people of the state. Mind you, the motion 167 is separate from the bond.''
Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor of the Crescent University, Abeokuta, Professor Sheriffdeen Tella has spoken against the bond.
Sheriffdeen, a Professor of Economics in a letter dated May 24, 2010 sent to the House of Assembly said: 'As an economist, it is imperative to lend my voice to the ongoing discussion on the desirability or not of acceding to such a request.'' According to him,'' why I do not object to raising loans to meet developmental obligations of government, or even individuals, I find it ridiculous for anyone to borrow in order to offset an earlier debts.
''Every loan should count towards investment that will be able to repay the loan in future. Thus, the government should be able to point at what was done to earlier loans and why such projects are not yet bringing out returns to offset such loans.''
The VC advised the House to remain resolute with its position that government should open its books for evaluation adding that it was within the jurisdiction of the House and should insist on this. While commending the Assembly for its steadfast, the VC said: ''In fact, the government should publish its audited accounts publicly every year as done by some states government in the present dispensation.''
''I hereby wish to commend the House on its stand and hopes it continues to follows the due process. However, if government is able to convince the House on the projects to be invested on (this is likely to be an afterthought now), the House may reconsider the case after due consultation'', he concluded. Also a chieftain of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), Chief Dayo Abatan has cautioned the Assembly in granting the bond.
In a statement dated May 17, 2010 and released in Abeokuta yesterday, Abatan, the Eruku of Egbaland and the Chairman of Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, said granting the bond would lead to unprecedented debt for the future generation of the state.
''That the governor had resuscitated the dead matter is an indication of a secret agenda on his part. We hereby urge him to restrain his footsteps on this matter, because the Ogun State House of Assembly members are been watched by the citizens of Ogun State. If they connive with him on this particular matter, the repercussion will be unthinkable. A word is sufficient for the wise,'' he counselled.