Story of unspent N16.3bn bailout misleading —Osun

THE Osun State government, on Monday, described as highly misleading and capable of inciting the people, a publication in the Sunday Tribune on November 27, 2016, which suggested that the government has not accounted for a balance of N16.3 billion out of the N34.9 billion bailout which it received from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2015.

The government, through a response by the Bureau of Communication and Strategy, said for the publication to state that there is a balance of N16.3 billion out of the funds as at “November” is capable of inciting workers and creating confusion over how the bailout was disbursed.

The Bureau’s statement, signed by its Director, Semiu Okanlawon, stated that the report was presented in a manner to suggest that the Osun government had an unspent N16.3 billion out of the received bailout of N34.9 billion in 2015.

It said the November, which the publication referred to when there was a balance of N16.3 billion, was November 2015 and not November 2016.

It also stated that the media had in May this year published stories on an alleged verification by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offenses Commission (ICPC) on how the bailout to states were disbursed. The ICPC had in November 2015, sent out questionnaires to states to indicate how much they collected; how much was their outstanding; and how much they had disbursed as at the time.

“It was Osun that disclosed how much was received and how much had been disbursed and how much was left as at November 2015.

“It is only logical for any commentator on this particular matter to reason that from November last year to November 2016, a period of 12 months, Osun has paid full and modulated salaries for about 10 months at an average of N1.7 billion monthly. Recall also that the period in question here is the same period within which Osun has received in Federal Allocation minus N300 million, N6 million, N305 million and other similarly very low allocations.

“The N16.3 billion referred to in the publication was the figure as at November 2015 and not November 2016. If Osun had paid monthly salaries and pensions of at least N1.7billion monthly from December 2015 to September 2016, it can be conjectured how N16.3billion of November 2015 would be insinuated to be unaccounted for.”

“As for the same edition’s publication on debtors’ list, the government said it must repeat for the umpteenth time that its debt profile is sustainable and that the state is not groaning under debt.

“The Debt Management Office in the Presidency had been saying since 2014 that Osun’s debt is within the capacity of its resources.

“However, it is gratifying to state that the massive development that have taken place in Osun since the assumption of the Governor Rauf Aregbesola-led administration are there to see for all as evidence of the state government debt commitment and management,” the statement stated.