Oyo State Governor, Engr. Sryi Makinde, has debunked reports that his administration is starving local governments in the state of funds.
Makinde stated this during the swearing-in ceremony of 10 newly appointed commissioners.
He said the state was able to save up some funds for the 33 local governments, especially when they were run by Head of Local Government Administrations (HLAs).
The governor, who noted that although only meagre amount were remaining in the respective accounts of the local governments after the payment of salaries of primary school teachers, local government workers and expenses for primary health care centres, said his administration will not allow the council areas share what has been saved.
He said: “Our people yearn for growth and development. They want good roads and quality infrastructure, even as they are asking for employment opportunities and economic prosperity. We know they have been starved of these basic functions of government for many years, and that can sometimes make the tasks we are expected to perform seem overwhelming.
“For example, we have been receiving several reports of people complaining about roads. Some have even gone as far as saying that the state government is starving the local government authorities of funds.
“However, local government funds from FAAC go directly into the Joint Allocation Accounts Committee (JAAC) account.
“But after they have drawn first line charges such as salaries for primary school teachers and local government workers and expenses for primary healthcare centres, what is left is meagre.
“Well, I don’t want to shade the local government authorities today, because if I do it, they may start stoning them if they go out to see people. I will just keep it at that, that well, when we came in as an administration, we had 11 LGAs with backlog of salaries, and we had to pay the backlogs. We don’t want to walk that route again.
“Everybody seems to be looking at the money we have saved so far. When we came in, we started building the local government account, especially those period we were using the HLAs to run the councils areas and we were saving an average of N1 billion monthly and we built it up to about N14 billion, but they cannot share it.
“We will utilise it as stabilisation fund for them, not for us. The state is not interested in spending their money or telling them how to spend their money but the state will not also sit by and let workers in those LGAs be denied their salaries at the end of every month.”
The governor assured that the state government would meet with the council bosses on infrastructure development at the grassroots, saying: “We will engage with the leadership of ALGON and I believe the people of Oyo State would see massive improvement in service delivery especially roads.”
“Also, local government authorities are in charge of all the funds from their internally generated revenue. We know the importance of development at the grassroots, this is why we keep pushing for investments to go to local government areas,” he added.
The newly sworn-in commissioners include Seun Fakorede (Ministry of Youth and Sports); Adeniyi Adebisi (Ministry of Agriculture); Olasunkanmi Olaleye (Ministry of Trade, Investment and Commerce); Wasiu Olatunbosun (Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism); Abdulrahman Abdulraheem (Ministry of Education, Science and Technology).
Others are Abiodun Oni (Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources); Misbau Babatunde (Ministry of Budget and Planning); Segun Olayiwola (Ministry of Lands and Housing); Bode Ladipo (Ministry of Health) and Kafilat Olayiwola (Ministry of Women Affairs).
Makinde also sworn-in the President of the Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Moshood Abbas.