Edo state Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole
Edo state Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has alleged that remittances from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) were never paid into the nation’s consolidated revenue funds for the federating units to share under former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Oshiomhole, who spoke with State House Correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, commended the president for bringing transparency and orderliness into governance in the country.
The Edo state Governor also explained that some state governments would find it difficult raising their internally generated revenue (IGR) because they had no taxable companies and entities in their domains.
He equally argued that Nigerian workers, especially those in the public sector, were being poorly paid. He therefore called for an upward review of the N18, 000 minimum wage.
Oshiomhole said: “We have always been happy with the president because he has been very clear from day one on his campaign promises to putting an end to impunity, fragrant disobedient of law and order.
And he has promised transparency and order. So it is not just about the bail out but it is completely a new approach that anybody who is a stakeholder in the matters involving the funds of the federation that we all can see through everything.
“For example, all the noise that has 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 federal government illegally refused to transfer these fund to the consolidated revenue fund which belongs to the three tiers of government.
“All that President Buhari has done is to, 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. And 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 will 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.”
According to him, if remittances from the NLNG had been paid into the federation accounts and shared to the federating units under former President Jonathan, his Edo state would have got N10 billion extra revenue the last four years.
He also clarified that no money had been taken from the excess crude accounts to share.
Commenting on clamour for the state governments to look inward and improve their financial status by galvanizing IGR, Edo governor said “I think these issues vary. For clarity, Edo State government is not indebted to any worker. We are update in our salary obligations. We are up to date in our allowances. I believe that some states have made a lot of progress in the area of internally generated revenue.
“But also some states are better placed to make more money or raise more money from internally generated revenue. For example, if you have the luck of number of industries being located in your state, now the fact of those location of those businesses means that you have people and organizations that are taxable. Now, if you are in a state where the private sector is completely absent, no matter how hard you look inward, you are not likely to find much. So we have to appreciate sometimes when people make this that state should look inward.”
Justifying the need to increase workers minimum wage, Oshiomhole said “Let me be very clear, I believe the Nigerian worker is underpaid, particularly in the public sector. If you look at the wage trend now, you will find that what a graduate earns level 8 step 2 in the public service, if the same young man is to get a job in an oil company or some subsection of the public section, his pay will be much more.
“If a worker is confronted with endless rise in costs of living and his wages are stagnant, obviously, whether you know it or not, he is already experiencing pressures on his living standard. If you look at the minimum wage when it was fixed, the exchange rate was about N140 to a dollar, so N18, 000 is about $130 a month. Now at N200 per dollar, N18, 000 is about $90. So, you can see the only beneficiary in this kind of inflationary environment is those who have fixed assets like building. Because the more your Naira is devalued, the higher the nominal value of your assets