Outgoing Governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada has revealed that about 85% of the revenue that accrued to the state during his tenure was used to settle salaries, pensions and gratuity of workers.
The governor disclosed this to a cross section of journalists during a media chat organized as part of hand over activities to the incoming administration.
“For instance in 2015, revenue that accrued from federal allocation to the state was N40 billion, this was augmented by internally generated revenue of N4.7 billion. Salaries gulped about 39 billion of that, In fact, the state had to access an overdraft of N2billion to keep government running,” he said.
He noted the situation was made worse by the refusal of the federal government to release the state’s bailout funds as a result of negative politicking during the last governorship election.
Explaining the bailout saga further, the governor said the state was among the first states that met the criteria set for the loan which included Exco and legislative approval, noting that despite the approval of this key sector of the government, the fund was not released leading to the current situation where civil servants are now owed three months salaries.
He also lamented that even the N10billion infrastructural development fund that was due to be released to cushion the effect of the dwindling revenue on capital projects execution could not be accessed for reasons best known to the powers that be.
Capt Wada regretted the hardship being experienced by the people of the state, particularly the civil servants in the last three months, saying he is personally touched but that unfortunately, the challenges are a direct consequence of the economic situation the country finds itself presently.
He, however, expressed hope that the efforts of his administration will not be in vain if the funds which will be released to the incoming APC administration are used for the intended purposes which is payment of arrears of salaries and timely completion of ongoing projects for the benefits of all Kogi citizens.
He also used the opportunity to debunk the rumours being peddled around that salaries of political office holders is at the range of N1.6 billion monthly.
Capt Wada also commended the teachers in the state for their commitment and abiding faith in the programmes and policies of his administration in the last four years, saying that it was their support that led to the upgrade of physical infrastructure in about a thousand schools and improved learning conditions which saw students from the state excel in mathematics and several other academic and extra curricular contests in the last four years.
Capt Wada regretted the failure to capture some teachers by the payment template before the state’s financial resources began to nosedive, describing it as a sour part of the successes recorded by his administration in the education sector.
He noted that the last four years came with its trials and tribulations but with determination, focus, courage, support of the people and the grace of God, the mission to transform the state has largely been successful.
“We have significantly expanded the revenue generating base of the state, initiated a lot of infrastructural projects, encouraged investments in agriculture and other areas”, Wada said.