Ondo State governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, on Wednesday, disclosed that the administration of his predecessor, Mr. Olusegun Mimiko, yoked the state with a debt of N220 billion.
Mr. Akeredolu, a personal friend of Mr. Mimiko, also disclosed his government inherited a paltry N9 billion from the previous government. He made the disclosures in Akure, the state capital, while inaugurating the 18 commissioners and 10 aides into his cabinet.
According to the governor, the inherited debt consists of internal and external debts. Internal debts, explained the governor, amount to N53. 719 billion, while the aggregate of external debts is N17. 485 billion. Salary arrears from August to December 2016 total N17. 279 billion, while unpaid salaries and allowances from January to February 2017 amount to N6. 911billion.
“This administration at inception met a staggering debt totaling N220,588,125,731.00. The breakdown of this highly disturbing debt profile is as follows: Internal Debt: N53,159,719,891.01; external debt: N17,485,393,971.50; unpaid salaries and allowances (August to December 2016): N17,279,115,588.10; unpaid salaries and allowances (January to February 2017): N6,911,663,629.24. Ondo State pension liabilities: N4,800,965,850.00; Ondo State gratuities: N15,043,537, 042.74; unpaid local government salaries and allowances (August to December 2016) N9,320,568,782.41; unpaid local government salaries and allowances (January to February 2017): N5,192,437,503.30; local government pension liabilities: N25,237,348,457.26,” the governor said in a breakdown.
In addition, Mr. Akeredolu said his government inherited local government gratuity liabilities of N20,965,598,590.61, contractors’ liabilities of N39,740,423,934.76 and outstanding payment requests in the Office of the Accountant-General without cash backing of N5,451,352,494.25.
He explained that the huge debt profile of the state has hampered his administration’s capacity.
SaharaReporters had reported that Mr. Akeredolu has been under severe criticism from many, who believe that he was concealing information about the true financial position of the state.
In February, Mr. Akeredolu’s predecessor had claimed that his government left behind N20 billion in the treasury of the state. Mr. Kayode Akinmade, Mr. Mimiko’s Information Commissioner, made the claim while responding to the All Progressives Congress (APC), which accused the immediate past administration of bankrupting the state.
"There are N7. 37 billion and N7. 53 billion respectively in the state's current and deposit accounts. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) account has N1. 2 billion, while the Paris Club withheld fund account has N3 billion," Mr. Akinmade said.
In a statement issued in March by Mr. Abayomi Adesanya, Publicity Secretary of the Ondo State chapter of the APC, the party alleged that Mr. Mimiko ladled the state with humongous debts, including unpaid loans.
"We will continue to point out the bad things done by this immediate past government for the people to know their real friends and enemies. The administration of the former governor (Olusegun Mimiko) left N150 billion as debts for the new APC government," the statement said.
Addressing the new commissioners and aides, Mr. Akeredolu advised that they should all see their political appointments as a call to service, not as a fun ride. He promised that his government will continue to be transparent and carry out people-oriented projects in the state.
Mr. Akeredolu failed to publicly announce the portfolios to be given to the new commissioners, even after administering the oath of office on them.