Following the slump in the price of crude oil in the international market and its attendant effect on the nation’s earnings, the Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has disclosed that his administration would continue to renew its plan to cut costs and block leakages, as part of measures to survive the dwindling allocation accruing to the state.
Speaking at the state’s first executive council meeting for 2015 on Wednesday, Governor Oshiomhole stressed that the falling price of oil would pose a financial challenge for the state.
He explained that there was a huge gap between the state’s revenue projections and actual receipts from the federation account, arising from alleged crude oil theft, in addition to a huge gap between the projected local revenue and what was actually realised.
Oshiomhole said, “With the sustained general reforms, we have decided that some of the gains of this government are consolidated. It is very clear we are going to face very serious challenges this year.
“As of the time we passed our budget, it was based on about $78 per barrel and the Federal Government which acted later have had to review their figure downwards twice and at the last count have chosen to adopt $65 per barrel.
“It is not clear whether this unstable market price is going to continue on a downward trend or whether we have seen the worst of it or whether we are likely to experience a marginal increase in price.
“But what is obvious is that this year’s revenue will be far less than expected and for me, it is not to overstress the issue whether the volume of oil theft is avoidable or unavoidable”.
the governor, however, noted that the state government would sustain the progress made in infrastructural development, adding resource management would come to bear in the development process.
“We are going to renew our commitment to cut costs and block leakages as much as possible and ensure that all taxes that are collected are actually reflected in the revenue of government. We will ensure that all leakages in the tax collection chain are blocked.
“Also, we are going to sustain the progress made in other areas where we have made improvements. So, it’s going to be a tough year. But as they say, tough times don’t last, but tough people do.
“But I’m happy that in Edo State, we were able to pay salaries to all in our payroll, including teachers, civil servants and so on. The point therefore is not about how much we earn but how we manage our available resources”, he added.