IGR: Ondo now financially stable – Akinterinwa

The dream of the Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu-led government to make Ondo State financially stable has now been achieved.

Ondo State Commissioner for Finance, Mr Wale Akinterinwa, made this disclosure on Tuesday, while addressing journalists at the Press Center, Alagbaka Akure.

The Commissioner, who featured as a guest on Ondo Media Agenda, an initiative of the Ondo Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), revealed that the current administration had succeeded in moving the state Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), from N600m to N3bn every month.

Noting that “one of the things the Governor had determined to do before assuming office was finding a means to increase the IGR of the state. It was a clear mission.

“Since we came into office in 2017, it has been quite challenging, but to the glory of God, some of what we called challenges are history now. The IGR we met in 2017 was revolving around 500 to 600 million naira in a month, but under the leadership of Akeredolu, as Governor of Ondo State it has moved from N600 million to a whopping sum of N3 Billion in a month. After Lagos State, no state has had that growth in a number of years.”

Akinterinwa stated that the increase in IGR has no doubt helped the administration in so many ways to achieve some of the things that are today credited to Akeredolu’s team, especially in terms of welfare of the people and infrastructural development.

Enumerating some of the challenges faced by the administration when it came on board, the biggest of which was the non payment of seven months salary to civil servants in the state, he said the Akeredolu-led government has succeeded in defraying six months out of it.

Commissioner Akinterinwa posited that the economy was in downstream at the time because of irregular payment of salaries, no sufficient IGR and many contractors were being owed, “but today, with the leadership of a man with a clear vision, we’ve successfully moved from that situation.

“We had cleared the salary debt except for a month, and by the time this government ends her tenure, it would have paid salary for 8 years and 7 months.

“When we came in, we did restructuring in all areas, we brought stakeholders and investors together, we renegotiated Bond that was not well maintained by the previous administration, we serviced it, and by the time we approached the capital market for a fresh bond, there was no other state that could be able to do that except Lagos state, because of the stringent conditions, but we were able to achieve it.

“All the infrastructure you see today came into being because the state Governor provided good leadership for the Economic Team which I head, and an enabling environment was created in other for us to put in our best.”

He noted that the administration also succeeded in recovering some hitherto lost funds through reconcilation and consultations, expecially the celebrated N4.3 billion that become the talk of the Town.

Akinterinwa maintained that part of the recovered money was used for some of the projects being witnessed in the state today.

He said: “We did so many financial reengineering on debts that were inherited from loans, and they were restructured. The role of government is not just to pay salaries, we have not abadoned any project.

“We succeeded in our IGR feat because autonomy was granted to the Ondo State Internal Revenue Service (ODIRS). We brought in an independent person who was given a free hand to organise his team, and an enabling environment was provided. We recruited experts and also gave more training to staff, thereby blocking leakages, and lots of things are now done properly.

“We designed tax payment system, which makes it easy for anyone to now pay their taxes at the comfort of their rooms. The technology deployed and all those interventions helped out in increasing our IGR.”

The Commissioner who also spoke on the subsidy palliative promised by the state government, disclosed that from this month, apart from transportation of workers, the pensioners and the Vulnerables would get their #10,000 each.

He added that Ondo State had taken delivery of 3,000 bags of rice, contrary to the 81,000 bags of rice that was promised by the federal government.

He continued that, the government is determined to help the farmers get their food crops to town because “we had realized that transportation has been the major problem faced by farmers across the state. We would provide tricycle for easy access when these crops get to town, it would be sold in a subsidized price.

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