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Ogun Assembly demands details of how Paris Club fund was spent

The Ogun State House of Assembly has asked the state Commissioner for Finance, Adewale Osinowo, to furnish it with detailed documents on how the Paris Club fund was spent.
The assembly members gave the directive on Tuesday in Abeokuta while questioning the commissioner over the financial status of the state.
The lawmakers, who were not satisfied with the presentation of the commissioner, directed him to provide details of the beneficiaries from the fund.
Olusola Bankole, the Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, said that the invitation of the commissioner was not to witch-hunt but to promote accountability and transparency.
Bankole said lawmakers represent various constituencies, adding that it was important for the electorate to be enlightened on the state’s finances.
He said: “All of us are public figures, we are working toward one goal, you must be able to keep us abreast with what is going on in the state.
“How do we defend the government we are part of if we don’t have information?
“People call us names, they call us “rubber stamp,’’ we are not happy with this.
“You must tell us how many people benefited from deductions; severance allowance should be separated from salaries, let us know where we are today.”
Wale Alausa, the House Minority Leader, said he was also interested in the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
Alausa, who said more money was underway, canvassed that the fund be paid into the Revenue Fund.
In his response, Osinowo said that the ministry was ready to furnish the House with the necessary documents that would back up how the Paris Club fund was spent.
Osinowo said prior to 2011, the Internally Generated Revenue of the state was N700 million monthly, adding that it was now over N6billion.
He said: “Prior to 2011, the IGR of the state was N700 million monthly but through the hard work of Governor Ibikunle Amosun, we are now generating close to N6 billion.
“That is how we have been able to cope with payment of salaries and other expenses.”
He also said the Paris Club fund enabled the state minimise its exposure.
Osinowo said: “We now look at it that okay, we were given N10.675 billion and we looked at it that for us to meet certain expenses, we need more funds.
“We looked at a lot of scenarios and we decided to add N1.9billion to it giving us a position of N12.5 billion.
“Out of this N12.5 billion, toward Christmas to January, we were able to pay deductions of N3.5billion.
“If you want evidence, we can give it to you and we are able to pay gratuity of N3.1billion.
“Salaries and other severance allowances was N5.9billion, giving us a total of N12.5 billion that we have paid till date; that’s how we spent the money.
“We are ready to furnish the House on what we have paid on deductions, gratuities and what we have paid on salaries and severance.”
The commissioner also recalled the Federal Government’s admonition that 50 per cent of the fund must be used for workers emoluments.
He said: “On ground net and tenement rates, before now for the whole year, we had not been able to get up to N50million.
“As at today, with just the introduction of land use, we are close to N210 million.”