Monday, 20 April 2020

Gov Makinde Slashes Oyo State Lawmakers’ Allocation By 30%

With the smooth running of the Oyo State’s economy threatened by the drop in the federal allocation and COVID-19 restrictions, the state Assembly has agreed to a 30 per cent slash in their monthly allocation effective this month.

Regular payment of salary of civil servants was beginning to be threatened when Governor Seyi Makinde recently raised the alarm that the federal allocation that the state now received was not up to 50 per cent of the state needed to pay salaries.

The agreement was reached when Governor Seyi Makinde met with the state’s lawmakers at government house, at the weekend.

The weekend’s meeting was a sequel to a meeting held two weeks where Makinde had initially presented the proposal to the lawmakers, adding that political office holders had to make sacrifices to cushion the effect of a drop in federal allocation on the running of the state.

Makinde had at the two meetings, explained to the lawmakers that the pandemic had resulted in about 60 per cent drop in the federal allocation and that he wanted to ensure that irrespective the economic situation, salary of civil servants must not be slashed or become irregular.

Chairman, Oyo House Committee on Information and Media, Honorable Kazeem Olayanju said the lawmakers agreed to the slash in the interest of the smooth running of the state.

“Our income has been slashed by 30 per cent as our support towards COVID-19. The governor brought the idea and we agreed that effective this month, there should be the 30per cent deduction.

“We were made to understand that the pandemic had greatly affected the economy of the country and the state as well as that the Federal Government has reduced allocation by 60 per cent.

“This situation could have affected regular payment of salary of Oyo State civil servants but the governor maintained that irrespective the economic situation of Oyo state, the salary of civil servants must not be affected. Hence, we agreed that political office holders should make sacrifices,” Olayanju said.

While noting that the governor assured of statewide distribution of palliatives beginning this or next week, Olayanju avowed that all lawmakers had also reached out to their constituents in their own little ways.

He bemoaned criticisms from members of the public about the minimal nature of palliatives distributed by lawmakers, noting that the lawmakers only spent from their salaries and statutory allowances.

Olayanju discarded notions that the lawmakers got money from the state’s coffers to distribute palliatives to their constituents, pointing out that they did not receive constituency allowance or allowances for oversight or overseas travels.

Speaking on measures to cushion the effect of a drop in federal allocation, Chief Press Secretary to the Oyo State governor, Mr Taiwo Adisa, said the state was implementing measures to shore up the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) such that it may not need to cut the state’s budget.

Though he noted that the COVID-19 situation had created some drawback in the state government’s aspiration, Adisa said the state will be more aggressive in increasing its IGR once the pandemic restrictions were relaxed.

“The state is not looking at cutting its budget in the immediate, but to harness its IGR activities to shore up its revenue. We expect a rise in IGR activities that will bring in more money to ensure the state is largely independent of federal allocation.

“In spite of COVID-19, we are implementing measures to shore up IGR. As soon as COVID pandemic get a bit relaxed, we hope to push ourselves very well, we may not need to cut the budget,” Adisa said.

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