By: Olajide Toriola
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has said that his administration is engaging in survival strategies to meet its obligations to the entire citizens and workers of the state, promising that the government would use its share of the Paris Club over deductions funds when it is paid for the workers’ welfare as recommended by the federal government.
Governor Ajimobi at the 2017 Inter-Faith Service of the Oyo State government held at the Governor’s office, Ibadan, noted that every cost saving measure is a disservice to certain groups of people, adding that his administration is deploying the necessary machinery to survive, by blocking loopholes, restructuring of the public and civil service, improved Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) and cut unnecessary government wastage.
He explained that government as an enterprise requires funds to serve its citizens and the government is looking for ways to cut cost and meet its obligations to the people despite the dwindling revenue being realized by the government.
According to Governor Ajimobi, “We are looking for ways to reduce our cost and every attempt to reduce it, is disservice to a certain group of people. We have suspended car loans, subventions to higher institutions, allowances, assistance to organisations/individuals among others. All these, are without uproar from the people and we are all aware of the criticisms that trailed the withdrawal of subventions to higher institutions.
“Maintenance of our infrastructure and executing new ones have been extremely difficult. Oyo State is a big state. Ibadan alone is bigger than seven states and to govern Oyo state is a big responsibility with big problem and difficult to manage.
“Our IGR is still abysmally low and allocations from federal allocations continue to dwindle. Over 50% of our IGR is from PAYEE and our average monthly allocation from FG is N2.5bn while salaries, subventions, pensions, overhead cost and allowances still stand at about N5.2bn. We need survival strategies to block loopholes, renewed IGR drive and restructuring of the public and civil service for optimal performance so that the government will meet its obligations to the people,” he pointed out.
The governor reiterated that the state has not collected its share of the Paris Club over excess deduction funds, stressing that the government is hopeful that the state would also get its share and whatever the state gets, would be used for the welfare of the workers.
Governor Ajimobi said that President Muhammad Buhari is passionate about the people, adding, “President Buhari wants to help the people, he wants us to stop the sufferings in the country and he has introduced so many poverty alleviation programmes to ameliorate the sufferings in the country. The president has suggested that we use 50% of the Paris Club fund for workers’ welfare and we are ready to do that whenever we get our share of the funds as we did with the bailout funds given to us by the federal government.”
He described the workers as the engine room of the government, saying that the government would not renege on its promise to use 100% of the allocation from federal government for workers’ salaries and consequently assured that his administration is ready to give the civil servants a percentage of the excesses of its IGR whenever the government reaches the threshold set for good governance in order to appreciate their dedication and commitment to service delivery in uplifting Oyo State.
“If I deliberately punish the workers, God will ask us. We will do everything humanly possible to ensure we give the people of the state the best. I am passionate about Oyo State, I want a state that will be the best in the country. I have nowhere to go, Oyo State is my state and I will continue to strive to make it great,” the governor emphasized.
Governor Ajimobi tasked the workers to be committed and dedicated to their work and show appreciation to government’s goodness, explaining that the government has started a system that encourages, recognizes and appreciates productive performance by creating an efficiency unit to appraise and grade workers on their output.
The governor charged the labour leaders in the state to always embrace dialogue and help the government to seek ways to meet its obligations to the workers instead of being confrontational with the government, noting that the era of table banging unionism should be a thing of the past.
Governor Ajimobi appealed to the entire citizens to work with the present administration in the state, promising that his administration would continue to prioritize citizens’ welfare.
Speaking at the service, the Oyo State Head of Service, Mr. Soji Eniade commended the state governor for his wise and bold decisions that has kept the state afloat despite the present economic situation in the country.
He said, “Even in the face of the present harsh economic condition, Governor Ajimobi, under no influence and pressure, decided to commit 100% of the monthly allocation from the federation account to pay salaries and pensions.
The Governor even directed that the free bus service for workers among other existing welfare schemes should under no condition be stopped. All the past kind hearted decisions of His Excellency, that were in favour of workers, must be appreciated while we all work hard and pray that the present situation be positively turned around.”
The HOS charged workers in the state to be diligent, dedicated, devoted, committed and work assiduously towards ensuring financial sufficiency for the state, stating that the ongoing restructuring exercise in the civil/public service was embarked upon to clean and sanitize the system.
Highlights of the program included prayers and praise worship from Muslim and Christian leaders as the Chief Imam of the Government House, Sheik Bello Rufai prayed for a successful year for the workers and the Ajimobi-led administration.
Rev. John Adika of the Providence Baptist Church, Iyana Church, Ibadan in his own sermon, reminded the workers that all leaders were chosen by God for the special attributes they possess which according to him would make possible the delivery of succour to their people.
He also prayed for the State and its workforce to be prosperous in the new year while admonishing workers to do their best in delivering their best.