Mrs Kemi Adeosun - Ogun State Commissioner for Finance
By Kemi Adeosun
The Ogun State government was not surprised to see yet another mischievous press statement issued by Mr. Sina Kawonise, a member of the Labour Party, in which he tried to foist the mischievous figures he had earlier peddled about the State’s debt profile on members of the public.
To achieve his purpose, Kawonise took figures from the planning schedule prepared by the State Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, among other documents given to members of the State House of Assembly during the Wednesday, 13 February, 2014 hearing. The document from which he took the figures he is now manipulating is a schedule for monitoring the progress on roads under construction and keeping tabs on what will be done later, a long term plan on road construction in the State. This document has been endorsed by the State Executive Council.
Even, in his submission, he demonstrated a shallow understanding of financial matters, a dubious intention to deceive members of the public and desperation to justify the lie he earlier told. For example, to justify his phantom claim that the State government owes as much as N300bn, he selected roads for which no letter of award of contract has been issued to the contractor and added the cost to the total money being owed. Examples of roads which are listed in the work schedule but whose construction has not commenced are the Ikangba-Ilese Road (N12bn), Ijebu Igbo township road (N7.9bn) and Papalanto –Ilaro road (N19.9bn). These are some of the roads whose cost made Kawonise’s imaginary figure on contractor financing loan.
The Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Arc. Lekan Adegbite, clearly explained the contents of the document on Wednesday during the legislative hearing. Also, in my capacity as Commissioner for Finance, I gave elaborate explanation to the lawmakers on the State’s finances, particularly the debt profile. What Mr. Kawonise needs to know is that unlike the administration in which he served, the present administration in Ogun State ensures that its accounts are audited annually and the reports are published in national newspapers. The 2013 account is already being finalised for audit.
We have no hidden loan that can help Mr. Kawonise to turn the false figures he is fixated upon to the truth. We are a completely transparent administration. The road projects we have embarked on are on-going, so liabilities to the contractors are dynamic. They are not static. We make regular payments to contractors as the work progresses.
For the avoidance of doubt, the balance of the loans we took for infrastructural development stands at N35.6 bn. Our other commitments included the N6.4 bn Contractor Finance and the N16.9bn foreign denominated, long term debts advanced by the World Bank and other multilateral agencies of which N14.4 bn (86 percent) was inherited from past administration.
* Mrs. Kemi Adeosun is the Hon. Commissioner for Finance in Nigeria's Ogun State.