Ondo Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu and his predecessor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko are not on the same page regarding the state’s debt profile.
On Wednesday, during the sewaring-in ceremony of his commissioners, Akeredolu said Mimiko’s administration left over N220 billion for him debt, but, Mimiko, yesterday, strongly disagreed.
The former governor declared his administration left over N20 billion in the state government coffers.
In a statement by former commissioner for Information, Mr. Kayode Akinmade, Mimiko said Akeredolu’s claim was far from the truth, and noted that the present administration had earlier admitted it met over N20 billion in the treasury.
“We left N20 billion and this included N7.37 billion in a current account; N7.53 billion as fixed deposit; N1.2 billion in the Millennium Development Goals account; $346, 000 and 443, 000 Euros in a Domiciliary account, including N825 million Sure-P fund in the Local Government Account. “The above amount, most of which came late into our tenure, was to be used to offset a chunk of owed salaries before the then accountant general made a curious disappearance.
“On figures listed as External Debt, it is necessary to state the following: Our administration did not incur any foreign debt in all its eight years.
“Also, external debt stock as at February 2017 was $49,958,268.49, which (if translated at $1 = N305) is N15.23 billion. All of these external debt stock was inherited from previous administrations.
“Again, we did not contract any external loan for all of our eight years. Well aware of the fact that government is a continuum, we continued to service the debts, some of which spanned over 20 years.
“Internal debt profile, we aver, stood at N53.159 billion comprising mainly of salary bailout loan of N13.76 billion, Excess Crude Account loan (N9.79 billion), CBN restructuring FGN Bond (N4.13 billion), CBN budget support (N7.5 billion) and Ondo State seven years bond of N17.6 billion.
“Of all the above-listed indebtedness, only the Ondo state seven years bond was directly incurred by our government, to build major infrastructure across the state.
“Yes, we experienced the sad reality of salary arrears like almost all the states of the federation. That was why unpaid salaries for the period of August 2016 to January 2017 was N32.40 billion, with N20.93 billion owed state government workers and N11.469 billion owed local government workers, including political appointees.
“Even at that, it must also be clear that we left office on the February 24, 2017 while federal allocation for February 2017 salaries was received by the incumbent government on February 28, 2017. We could not have paid February salary when we did not receive February allocation before exit.
“On pensions, N4.8 billion was said to be owed by the state government and N25.237 billion by the local governments. We wonder where these figures came from. At inception, our administration paid N1.5 billion out of outstanding pensions and gratuities. All the years of our administration, monthly obligations to pensioners were considered and paid as part of salaries.
The N32.40 billion salary arrears is, therefore, inclusive of obligations to pensioners, except gratuity, which is owed at the state and local government levels…”
“While we note that gratuities are outstanding, we state for the benefit of all, that this is one sad development that was not peculiar to Ondo State alone. Almost all States of the federation have
defaulted on gratuities in the last 10 years or more.
“We urge the government and interested citizens of our state to avail themselves of the true state of our indebtedness from the Debt Management Office,” the statement added.