Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, on Wednesday, explained that his administration’s determination to fix the huge infrastructure deficit in the state and get the state on the right track for economic growth was behind the move to secure loans that target key infrastructure.
He added that the problem with loans is not in taking them, but in the way they are utilised, noting that with the extant economic reality in the state, it would be difficult for the state to get out of its infrastructure crisis and be well-placed to attract investments, without taking loans targeted at developing key infrastructure.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the governor stated these during the signing of the reviewed 2020 Budget from N213 Billion to N174 Billion into law.
The governor explained that in the revised 2020 budget, N65.2 Billion has been earmarked for capital projects while N108.9 Billion is for recurrent expenditure, stating that the state plans to pay a huge chunk of its recurrent expenditure through allocations from the federation account and the state’s internally generated revenue.
The governor appreciated members of the Oyo State House of Assembly for reviewing the revised budget proposal in a timely manner and for approving the downward review, saying “it is heartening that the three arms of government have continued to work harmoniously for the good of the people of Oyo State.”
The budget signing ceremony, which took place at the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan, was witnessed by the Deputy Governor, Engr. Rauf Olaniyan; Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, other top government functionaries and some lawmakers.
Speaking shortly after signing the reviewed budget, Governor Makinde maintained that the reason for the review was due to economic meltdown, crash in oil prices and effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected the economy of the state.
The governor reiterated his administration’s commitment to ensure an optimum performance of the budget, noting that the state will ensure that the 2020 revised budget is adequately funded by aiming at 70 per cent performance.
He said: “The reason for this latest revision is apparent to all. The economic meltdown we are experiencing, occasioned by the crash in oil prices, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, has greatly affected our state’s ability to stick with the original budget.
“So, after the review, which we submitted to the Oyo State House of Assembly, it was agreed that we should effect an 18.3 per cent downward review of the budget, from N213 Billion to N174 Billion.
“It is this revised budget that I am signing today. As I sign this revised budget, it is a good time to reflect on one issue that has plagued our budget implementation over the years – the issue of poor budget performance.
“We make robust presentations of plans that mostly end on paper, because the funds are not available to implement them.
“When you have an annual budget performance of about 30 per cent, you will understand why we keep having stagnation in economic growth. Or how else will you explain an IGR average of about N1.8 billion in the past four years?”
Governor Makinde maintained that the reason Oyo State continued to be referred to as a civil service state is because it failed, over the years, to take the needed action to boost its economy, stating that his administration is ready to make daring and ambitious efforts to reposition the state economically.
“So, we have taken some steps to ensure that the 2020 revised budget is adequately funded. As I said at the signing of the initial budget, we are aiming for a minimum of 70 per cent performance,” Governor Makinde said, adding that the steps taken by the government is to ensure that loans taken are used to fund priority capital projects.
He said: “One of the steps we have taken is to ensure that loans taken are used to fund priority capital projects.
“Another thing we are doing is using an Alternative Project Funding Approach to carry out key priority projects. This will be used for the twenty-one-kilometres Airport – Ajia – New Ife Express Road with a spur to Amuloko in Ibadan and few other projects.
“What the alternative approach entails is that the contractor will fund the project and the Oyo State Government will pay for the project over thirty months. “I have seen some comments about the cost of the Airport Road. There is no basis for the comparison between the Airport Road and the Moniya-Iseyin road. Unlike the Moniya-Iseyin road, the Airport road will contain hydraulic structures.”
The governor also used the occasion to clear the air on the planned Oyo State Prosperity Bond, noting that though the government is aware that floating the bond is an ambitious move, it is a bold step that has to be taken for the development of the state.
“Let me use this opportunity to talk about the N100 Billion bond, also known as the Oyo Prosperity Bond, which was recently proposed and approved by the Oyo State Executive Council. There is no arguing that floating this bond is an ambitious move. But I want to believe that we were voted into office to take bold steps in developing our economy.
“The facts before us are clear. Our state has huge infrastructural deficits. If those deficits are not addressed, it means we will be maintaining the status quo. Any person with sound financial knowledge will tell you that the only way to get out of this cycle of poverty is through massive investment in infrastructure.
“As I have always said, the problem with loans is not in taking them, but in the way loans are utilised. Oyo State cannot get out of its infrastructural deficit without taking loans targeted at developing key infrastructure. “For example, we are targeting economically strategic roads such as the fifty-kilometres Iseyin-Ogbomoso road and the Ibadan Circular Road. We are also giving attention to the health sector by either constructing or upgrading one public hospital in each of the three senatorial districts of the state. In the transport sector, we are focused on building the Ibadan Dry Port and rail corridor and upgrading the Ibadan Airport.
“Oyo State cannot attract investments into our economy without showing that we are worthy of these investments. Investors will go to Lagos and even our neighbouring Ogun State if we continue running our economy with the same level of unseriousness that the state has come to be known for.
“Tell me, what excuse do we have for not making it into the list of top ten economies in Nigeria? How can we, despite being in these dire conditions, not recognize the urgency of growing our economy?
“I took an oath to lift Oyo State from poverty to prosperity using our Roadmap to Accelerated Development of Oyo State 2019-2023. I am determined to keep my word. Every step we have taken as an administration since our being sworn in on May 29, 2019, till date is geared towards ensuring that every promise made will translate to promises kept. I pledge to continue carrying you along as we make the best decisions for the overall good of the people of Oyo State.”
Imo tops, as Nigeria’s unemployment rate hits 27.1% in Q2 2020
Nigeria’s unemployment rate has increased to 27 per cent in the second quarter of 2020, a move from 23.1 per cent reported in Q3 2018 according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)
The NBC in its ‘Labor Force Statistics: Unemployment and Underemployment Report’ released on Friday also disclosed that the number of persons in the economically active age (15 – 64 years), jumped from 115,492,969 in Q3 2018 to 116,871,186 in Q2 2020.
“For the period under review, Q2 2020, the unemployment rate among young people (15-34 years) was 34.9 per cent, up from 29.7 per cent, while the rate of underemployment for the same age group rose to 28.2 per cent from 25.7 per cent in Q3 2018,” the NBS report said. “These rates were the highest when compared to other age groupings.
“The number of persons in the labour force (i.e. people within ages 15 -64, who are able and willing to work) was estimated to be 80,291,894″.
This was 11.3 per cent less than the number of persons in Q3 2018.
“Of this number, those within the age bracket of 25-34 were highest, with 23,328,460 or 29.1 per cent of the labour force,” it added.
The report further revealed that the number of employed people in Q2 2020 slumped by 15.8 per cent to 58,527,276 when placed side by side with that of Q3 2018.
“Of this number, 35,585,274 were full-time employed (i.e. worked 40+ hours per week), while 22,942,003 were underemployed (i.e. working between 20-29 hours per week)”.
At 48.7 per cent, Imo State has the highest unemployment rate in the country and is trailed by Akwa-Ibom State (45.2 per cent) and Rivers State (43.7 per cent).
Anambra State, however, has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation – 17 per cent.
“For underemployment, the state which recorded the highest rate was Zamfara with 43.7 per cent, while Anambra State recorded the lowest underemployment rate, with 17 per cent in Q2 2020,” the agency said.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NBS said: “2,736,076 did not do any work in the last seven days preceding the survey due to the lockdown but had secure jobs to return to after the lockdown.”
Ex-Vice President, Atiku Condemns NBC N5m Fine
Nigeria’s former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on Thursday condemned the fined of N5 million imposed on a Lagos-based radio state – 99.3 FM Nigeria Info by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
Atiku, in a statement he personally signed asked the NBC to drop the penalty against the station, describing the reason given for its action as an attempt to gag the media in the country.
Atiku also disagreed with the nation’s broadcasting regulatory agency with its argument that the interview that the station had with a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Obadiah Mailafia, constituted any infringement and exposed the media outfit to trading in hate speech.
He argued that whether or not, what Mailafia during the programme aired on the radio station was a false claim, it was not the responsibility of the NBC to impose a sanction for a comment made by an individual.
Atiku added that the former CBN deputy governor had been quizzed and released by law enforcement agents, saying that they were at liberty to prosecute him in court if they were not satisfied with his explanations.
He insisted that it was wrong to make a scapegoat of the media platform which provides opportunities for citizens to ventilate their views.
The former vice president, however called on the NBC to review the hate speech prohibition code, noting that the interpretation of same was offensive to the notion of free speech
Ooni Condemns Big Brother Naija, Suggests Replacement
The Arole Oduduwa and Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II on Wednesday condemned the prominent Big Brother Naija reality show which he said has been misrepresenting the goodness of the Nigerian youths.
Ooni who doubles as Co-chairman, National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria(NCTRN) also offered a suggestion for a reality show which will project the country’s values, charging leaders of the National Youth Council of Nigeria to work out plans on the show which will be called, “The Big Nigeria Reality Show”.
According to the monarch, “Nigerian youths are found of accusing and abusing our leaders, stop abusing them and do your bits. Let’s wear our thinking caps and begin to act like real leaders that we are.
“In the last general election, the total number of vote cast is around 27 million while over 170 million people voted during the 2019 Big Brother 9ija reality show. This is a practical reality of who Nigerian youths are and where our priorities lies as Nigerians
“The funny side in all of these is that we still go to bed, have a good sleep and wake up with the hope to meet a Nigeria we didn’t create. Nigerians Youths! Nigerians Youths!! Nigerians Youths!!!
“Unfortunately, every time I talk about this kind of attitude, everyone just laugh and moves on. What kind of nation are we building?
“When people say this country, or what kind of country is this, they are indirectly saying these people – it is the people that make a country; so what kind of Nigerian youths are we?” , the Ooni queried.
Ooni added, “The proposed show will be structured in a way that young professionals, talented individuals and others across several field of endeavour will be showcased and helped to reach their peak. This would help the participants and also help viewers to have access to people that can be seen as role models”.
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