A Civil Society Organization in Osun State, The Osun Mastermind and a former Commissioner for Finance during the administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Dr Wale Bolorunduro are trading words over the current debt profile of the State.
The Civil Society group on Thursday during a press conference in Osogbo, asked the incumbent Governor Gboyega Oyetola to immediately publish the debt profile of Osun State.
The State was hugely indebted in during the administration of Ogbeni Aregbesola as it could not finance basic government needs due huge deductions made from the State’s federal allocation monthly to service or repay loans.
Responding to the group, Bolorunduro, who doubled as a consultant for loans taken by Aregbesola’s administration, described the group as mischief makers making clandestine request.
He said his caucus of the All Progressives Congress, The Osun Progressives, has made the same request, “asking Oyetola since last year, when he started his bubble game of playing debt card to stain his predecessor; such request is suspicious especially, when this same group is providing answers to the same questions, they have posed to Oyetola. We know it is Oyetola and his boys that are masterminding them. One does not know their knowledge of finance, until we unravel it. Osun is a place, where anybody can claim what he is not, let’s give them a benefit of doubt. Ours is a state, where an Insurance man has been described as Encyclopedia of Finance.
“Ogbeni Aregbesola, through out his tenure had always disclosed the debt portfolio of Osun and that was transparency and a lesson in leadership. Sometime in September 2018, Aregbesola released the indebtedness of the state by reeling out figure and the breakdown certified by the Accountant General of the state as the balances as at July 31st 2018. Then, the State’s indebtedness stood at N170.6 billion made up of N141.1 domestic debt and N29.5 multilateral (external) debt. One could only wonder on the sincerity of the Jonny Just come Group, because they could corroborate the Aregbesola’s figure with the Debt Management Office, Abuja. The same figure was mentioned by Oyetola during the 2018 Governorship debate and he went further to say, the debt is sustainable. So what’s the heck? Why is the new jejune group crying more than the bereaved, why are they dissembling and why can’t they hold Oyetola responsible for his words.
“I don’t have a beef with him disclosing the current level of debt but he should also disclose the opening balances of the components as at 27th November, 2018, when he became a Governor. All that we know was that the components of the debt portfolio handed over to Oyetola are all developmental, long term Finance at weighted average interest rate of 11.74 percent. None of the debt was bank loan or contract finance, whose rate is usually above 20 percent. So Oyetola should tell us also, when the debt started to become unsustainable.”
Reacting to Bolorunduro, the group in a statement by its spokesman, Wasiu Ademola Oyedokun-Alli asked the former Finance Commissioner to give a full response. The group accused Bolorunduro of midwifing the humongous borrowings that crippled the State economy.
Having claimed the Aregbesola administration did not incur Contractor financing debt, we wish to ask him to clarify the terms of contract for the dualization of Gbongan – Akoda road, the Ikirun – Ila-Odo road and the contract for the construction of the MKO Abiola Airport, Ido-Osun.
If indeed the thoughtless borrowings facilitated by same Wale Bolorunduro were sustainable, how come the Osun State Government got a paltry 6,000,000 out of the gross 2,422,000,000 allocation in January 2016? What deductions were made on the State’s allocation then that led to such heavy reduction in the amount received?
“If these debts were sustainable, how come Osun got a negative net allocation in April of 2016 after loan repayment deductions?
If the debts were sustainable, how come the Aregbesola administration suddenly resorted to salary modulation, having become unable to pay full salaries?
“We are not concerned about the thuggish use of words by the uncouth former Commissioner for Finance in Osun. We are also not concerned about the general irritating sound of his release. We are focused on asking the right questions and making people like him, who contributed to the impoverishment of the State, answer to their actions. He should answer the questions above and then we will ask many more.
“As a Group made of Civil Society organizations made up of bonafide Osun citizens and in partnership with several other Civil Society organizations across the country, the likes of Wale Bolorunduro should be ready to really engage us beyond those abusive cackles that he called a response earlier. We are refined gentlemen and women and we will stay focused on the task at hand.
“When he is ready to respond to this, we will be waiting with more.”