Friday, July 10, 2015

Jonathan, Okonjo-Iweala deny Edo N10billion – Oshiomhole

Edo State Governor, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, on Friday alleged that former President Goodluck Jonathan and his Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, jointly denied his state about N10bn in four years.

He said the sum was an estimate of what could have accrued to his state if the past administration had been faithful in remitting taxes paid by the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company and Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria into the Consolidated Federation Account the same way the present administration did.

Oshiomhole spoke with State House correspondents shortly after he and former governor of Rivers State, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, met behind closed-doors with President Muhammadu Buhari inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The governor claimed that if the $1.6bn NLNG tax that Buhari used as bailout for states had come during the Jonathan administration, it would have gone the same way it has been going without states benefitting.

He said he was happy with Buhari because he had made it clear that he would put an end to impunity and fragrant disobedient of law and order and ensure transparency and order.

He said, “All the noise that have been generated over what happened last week, there was nothing extraordinary. What was extraordinary is that the NLNG has over the years been remitting funds to the Federal Government but the government illegally refused to transfer these funds to the consolidated revenue fund which belongs to the three tiers of government.

“All that President Buhari was, in line with his commitments to ensuring that all funds and monies accruing to the Federation Account are so remitted, that he has directed the CBN to transfer the funds to the consolidated funds.

“Our commissioners along with federal officials met last week to share those funds in line with the revenue allocation formula. If this money had come under the last President, it would have gone the same way as in previous years.

“The NLNG is not starting fresh to remit. It has been doing that every year plus taxes paid by, I think Shell, amounting to about $500 million added to the amount of $1.6 billion from NLNG that total to the amount of $2.1 billion. That was the money that was shared.

“Imagine what Edo State got from this renewed transparency and total compliance to the spirit and letter of the constitution in section 80. If what we got last week, courtesy of this renewed commitment to transparency, if we had gotten this in the past four years consecutively, we would have made about N10 billion.

“So, by the same token, Edo State government had lost N10 billion under President Goodluck Jonathan and under Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. And this is the point we have been making when analysts just talk about states, states, they do not really probe the specifics and because the federal voice is always louder and people make assumptions that certain people are not likely to do certain things, the truth is that so much was not paid to the federation account and that explains the huge gap.”

The governor said that was why he had maintained that the current economic problem is not only about drop in oil price but also because of the denial of a lot of revenue that ought to have accrued into the Federation Account.

On the clamour for increase in national minimum wage, Oshiomhole said he believed strongly that workers, especially those in the public sector, are underpaid.


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