…As Assembly confirms Dipeolu as CJ
The Ogun State Government has said he had fulfilled major condition for the release of the N17.3bn, the fourth tranche of the bailout fund to be provided by the President Mohammed Buhari led-Federal Government to states.
This was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the state government and the labour union Tuesday.last week.
A statement by Head, Information Department of the Assembly, Lawal Jamiu, quoted Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Adewale Oshinowo as saying this during an interactive session with members of the House of Assembly presided over by the Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Hon. Victor Fasanya.
Osinowo, noted that the fund which is currently domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria, would soon be released as all condition for its disbursement were being finalized the relevant agencies.
While reassuring that government would continue to promote accountability and transparency in all its activities, he said that government had earmarked 60% of the bailout for the payment of workers’ salaries, gratuities and severance allowance.
Although he noted that what was earmarked was beyond the initial 50% agreement with the Federal Government, he added that the remaining would be expended on social services.
He clarified that the state was yet to access the N17.3bn bailout funds, dismissing allegations from some quarters that the it had misappropriated the funds.
Oshinowo emphasised that the previous bailout funds were mainly used to offset co-operative deductions and other arrears of all categories workers in the State public service.
The Commissioner disclosed that the state received N10.6 billion, as first tranche; N5.7 billion for the second tranche and another N5.7 billion as the third tranche of the bailouts from the Federal Government.
Responding to questions about the disbursement of the funds, the commissioner explained that the state remained financially healthy, adding that it had provided additional funds to augment the first tranche of the bailout fund to pay deductions,
gratuities and severance allowance.
He recalled that 85% of the second tranche of N5.7b was expended on workers’ salaries with the remaining 15% spent on social services, while 80% of the third batch of the fund was spent to pay workers’ salaries with 15% dedicated for social services.
On the domestic debt of the state, Osinowo put the total indebtedness at N106bn out of which N14.5bn was incurred from the bailout funds, adding that it was only the state that opted for repayment tenure of ten years among the comity of states as part of its financial repositioning measures.
He remarked that the state rakes in an average of N7billion as its revenue on a monthly basis, reaffirming that the she had duly paid all the state and council pensioners till date.
The lawmaker assured the Assembly that his office remained committed to the successful implementation of the financial autonomy passed into law by the National Assembly.
In his submissions, Hon. Victor Fasanya appreciated the commissioner for shedding light on the financial position of the state, with a request for more interactive sessions to address other emerging issues arising from their interface with their constituents.
Meanwhile the Assembly has confirmed the appointment of State Acting Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Mosunmola Arinola Dipeolu as the substantive Chief Judge.
The Assembly had earlier screened Justice Dipeolu with a call on her to bring her wealth of experience to bear so as to further reposition the State judiciary for optimum performance.
The legislative body said Dipeolu, was found to be eligible and suitable to assume the exalted office upon her screening by the lawmakers the previous day.
The approval was sequel to the adoption of the report of the Committee of the Whole House Chaired by the Speaker, Suraju Ishola Adekunbi as presented by his Deputy, Olakunle Oluomo, who also moved the motion for its adoption which was seconded by Hon. Tunde Sanusi.
The confirmation of the Ag. Chief Judge was thereafter done through a motion moved by the deputy speaker, seconded by a member representing Odogbolu State Constituency, Hon. Adebowale Ojuri and supported by the Whole House through a voice vote.
The lawmakers urged the new chief judge to set machineries in motion to sustain the effective and speedy dispensation of justice to the people of the state.
Meanwhile, Speaker Adekunbi has assured that he would collaborate with his coleagues in the Conference of Speakers in Nigeria to intensify efforts towards ensuring the speedy actualization of the financial autonomy granted to the legislative and judiciary arms of government through continued interface with the Governors Forum.
Adekunbi gave the assurance while responding to the request of his deputy, Olakunle Oluomo, who cited Order 30 of the House Standing Rules to call the attention of the Assembly to the recent autonomy granted to the legislative and the judiciary arms which was part of the recent 1999 constitutional amendment with a call on the Commissioner for Finance, Accountant General and Auditor general to step up measures for its take-off.
Adekunbi, who described the autonomy as a catalyst for promoting good governance, promised to continue to engage all the relevant stakeholders for its immediate implementation
In another development, two bills scaled first reading on the floor of the Assembly after which they were read by the Clerk of the Assembly, Engr. Lanre Bisiriyu before the lawmakers.
The bills are: H.B No. 033/OG/2018- The Tai Solarin College of Education, Omu (Amendment) law, 2018 and H.B. No. 034/OG/2018- Ogun State Official Orders of Precedence of Public Officers and other Persons Law, 2018.