Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has said faulted insinuations that he embarked on a borrowing spree to fund projects, stating that his administration met nothing in the state coffers.
According to Governor Makinde, he not only met nothing, but inherited the $200 million Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project, IUFMP.
However, he noted, the state has succeeded in increasing the internally-generated revenue, IGR, to N2 billion monthly without increasing the tax burden; and that the IGR can get to N4.3 billion.
The governor stated these in an interview with Vanguard, while responding to questions about borrowing money and funding projects (Read the full interview HERE).
According to Makinde, “That insinuation of ‘a borrowing spree’ is not correct. Our government took N24 billion because when we came in, it was almost like we did not meet anything in the treasury, and what was coming from the federation account could not even cover the salary bills.
“Well, you definitely must have seen the release from the Debt Management Office, DMO. At this stage, I think Oyo State is probably owing about N90 billion and about $200 million.
“Since we came in, we took N24 billion for contract financing and we have not accessed everything. We are probably still around N18 billion.”
On how the debts came about, Makinde explained that the $200 million was taken by the previous administration for the IUFMP.
“Before I came in, they already spent about $54 million of that money and they had committed about N100 million as well.
“I was going to cancel it when I came in because I did not see any need for that. But the World Bank came and said it will affect the relationship with Oyo State.
“So, I said they should go ahead with the commitment and I am the one spending the over $40 million remaining right now. But I have changed the work plan.”
On how the state went about raising fund without increasing the tax burden, Makinde said: “We have increased our IGR from less than N2 billion to over N3 billion now, which means monthly, we have N1 billion available.
“I know they have sent bills out to people worth about N20 billion. Even if we have half or 60 per cent of that, say N12 billion, that is additional N1 billion aggregate monthly.
“That will immediately take our IGR to about N4.3 billion. And you also remember that for this increase, we did not increase the taxes people are paying.
“All we have done is to just expand the base because when I came in, I told them that nobody has ever given me a bill in my own house here.
“Everywhere in the world, you pay property tax, which is supposed to be utilised to ensure that you have security, evacuate thrash, provide water and electricity, and other infrastructure.
“But here, people just feel you build houses and don’t have responsibilities for the common areas.”