Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola at the weekend explained why his administration has refused to tax the people.
Aregbesola said his people are very poor and tax would be an unnecessary burden on them.
He spoke at the Banquet Hall of the State House in Osogbo, the state capital, during a dinner with representatives of various financial institutions.
The dinner was part of activities marking the one year anniversary of the Aregbesola administration in office.
The governor urged the institutions to assist in eradicating poverty in the state, assuring them of security and a business friendly environment.
He solicited for funds to finance capital projects and programmes that would improve the state’s economy.
Aregbesola said: “I am in Osun State to eradicate poverty. If you are talking about naked poverty, it is here in the state. We can not tax anybody here because we do not want them to die.
“Are we going to tax people waiting to die? We were able to save 13 million in the last year, not through tax, but by blocking leakages in the system. So you bankers have no choice than to help us deliver good governance to the people. We need your support to eradicate poverty.
“I am amused about the uninformed comments of our predecessor in office about the finances of the state. They are confused and cannot comprehend what we are doing because they are not financially literate.
“We have the vision, passion and action. I am here to change the fate of the black man through the various programmes and projects of our unusual and unconventional government.
“My predecessor left the state’s account in a bad state. We met a suffocating loan of N18.3 billion, which the Olagunsoye Oyinlola administration secured in an unprofessional manner.
“But within a year in office, my administration was able to increase the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state from N300 million to N600 million and pay the loan through the access of N25 million bond from the bank, with the monthly servicing of less than N100 million, instead of the N800 million used to service the former loan.”
The governor said his administration does not wait for the federal allocation before it pays its workers, adding that any state waiting for it is doomed.
He said states rejected the October allocation because of President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to deduct some amount from it for the creation of Sovereign Wealth.
Aregbesola said nobody has the right to deduct from any state’s allocation without the governor’s consent.
He advised state governments to exploit other avenues for generating revenue.
Commissioner for Finance, Economic Planning and Budgeting, Dr. wale Bolorunduro said the government plans to increase the IGR to N1 billion next year.
On incessant bank robberies in the state, Bolorunduro said the government has collaborated with security agencies to forestall a recurrence. He said the governor has ordered for five Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and established a security trust fund to combat the menace.
Many of the bank executives acknowledged the governor’s passion for development and promised to support his administration.
They include: Ayo Abina, Skye Bank; Elias Akenzua, Zenith Bank; Akinleye Ogunleye, Diamond Bank; and Boyin Oladokun, Unity Bank.