By Daud Olatunji
ABEOKUTA—THE Ogun State House of Assembly, yesterday, grilled the state Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Wale Oshinowo over the alleged disappearance of the last tranche of the Federal Government bailout funds of N17.3 billion released to the state.
Oshinowo was invited by the House Committee on Finance and Appropriation to explain the reasons behind the delay in the disbursement of the last tranche of the Federal Government bailout funds released to the state. Recall that the Finance Commissioner had told newsmen during a joint media briefing held in conjunction with the leadership of organised labour under the auspices of Joint Negotiation Council, that the state received a total of N17.3 billion on September 20, but as at the time of filing this report the funds were yet to be disbursed to workers.
During the interrogation, the House Committee on Finance and Appropriation asked the commissioner on the whereabouts of the last tranche of the bailout funds, the delay in the implementation of local government autonomy, taking over of some Internally Generated Revenues functions from local governments, severance allowance, signage and commercial motorcycles permit and contributory deductions.
In his response, Oshinowo explained that the last tranche of the bailout was recalled by the Central Bank of Nigeria following their inability to meet some criteria.
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While fielding questions from journalists immediately after the session, the commissioner was asked to confirm whether the funds were trapped in the First Bank or not, and he described it as a total lie, claiming that the money is with the central bank.
His words: “Actually, the funds were recalled due to some certain parameters that must be fulfilled before it will be returned to individual states. But, that parameter and conditions have been met now which we did with the local chapter of the NLC in Ogun State. I am sure that before the end of the week or early of next week, the fund is likely to be with us.
“It is being done stage by stage and we have finalized our own and we are ready to take our own back.”
“The first parameter is that 50% of the funds must be for workers and while the rest of the 50% will be on the prerogative of the executive of the state. The moment these prerogatives are written and signed with the NLC in agreement, I am sure they will release the funds to us.”