Delta IGR Hits N34.5 bn –Okumagba

BY AUSTIN OYIBODE With Agency Report

DELTA State Commissioner for Finance, Mr Bernard Okumagba, yesterday said that the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) grew by 182 per cent between 2007 and 2012.

The breakdown showed that the IGR rose to N34.5 billion in December 2011 from N12.2 billion in  2007.

Okumagba told  journalists in Asaba that the increase was due to new reforms and strategies adopted by the state government during the period. He said that the sources of the revenue were taxes, fines and fees, licences, rents, interests and dividends.

The commissioner said that the ministries, department, agencies complemented the efforts of the state Board of Internal Revenue in the collection of the revenues. He said that the state has concluded plans to raise the internally generated revenue in 2012 through effective deployment of government machinery.

Okumagba said that effective deployment of the machinery would help to expand the state’s revenue base and credit worthiness.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quotes the commissioner as saying that the new revenue strategy encouraged savings culture through strict budget implementation and improved control measures.

He said that  the state planned to diversify its economy so as to reduce the dependence on federal allocations.

“The state is deliberately developing and expanding non-oil sources of income and it is in keeping faith with the agenda of the state. “The state is also providing resources and enabling environment for work as well as capacity building of employees for effective service delivery,’’ he said.

He said the State Government’s N50bn infrastructural development bond has been invested in financing various developmental projects in the state. The bond which was issued in September, 2011 was the first tranche of the second Delta State infrastructural development bond.

Among the projects which the bond is used to finance, according to Okumagba, , are development of Warri  Industrial park, dualisation of Ughelli-Asaba expressway, dualisation of Effurun-Eku road, dualisation of Ugbenu-Koko road, funding of the four new state polytechnics, Delta State University Senate Building and Sapele Modern market.

Others are education initiatives which involved the three tiers of education system in the state, rehabilitation of Eku Baptist Hospital, Maternal and Child Care Centre in Ekpan and Warri, construction of administrative block in School of Engineering, DELSU, Oleh Campus, School of Marine Technology, Burutu, Warri water Projects, purchase of buses, boats and taxis for Delta Mass Transit and Construction of Abigborodo Bridge in Warri North Local Government Area of the state.

He said, between April 1, 2007 and December 31, 2011, the State government has contributed N9.3bn and deducted N5.6bn from employees monthly salaries totalling N14.9bn towards the new pension scheme in the state.

The commissioner further explained that the state government, through the State Bureau for Pensions and Office of the Accountant General of the state,  released over N160m annually as premium for death-in-service insurance scheme for workers.

In pursuance of the mandate for the establishment of contributory pension scheme, Okumagba said the state government has settled the retirement benefits of workers who retired from the state public service between March 1, 2010 and December 2011 and have been paid to the tune of over N2.5bn.

In the area of investment, Okumagba listed various quoted and unquoted companies cutting across key sectors where the state government has substantial shareholdings. He listed them to include agriculture, automobile and tyres, banking, breweries, building materials, chemicals and paints, food, beverages and tobacco, industrial and domestic products, insurance, petroleum, textiles and maritime.

Others are Delta Transport Services Ltd, Delta Trust Mortgage Finance Ltd, African Timber and Plywood Company, OFN-Delta Farms Ltd, Pamol Nigeria Ltd, Universal Investment and Development Company Plc (UIDC) among others.

He told journalists that UIDC’s paid up capital is currently N120m and is wholly owned by the state government, adding that between 2010 and 2011, credit facilities totalling N640m was disbursed to various employees in the state and that over 60 enterprises have been supported in agro and agro-allied businesses.