The state, according to Governor Rauf Aregbesola, has concluded all arrangements to go digital in the collection of its revenues and erase all avenues through which revenue officials come in contacts with raw cash.
Aregbesola, according to a statement by his Director, Bureau of Communication and Strategy, Semiu Okanlawon, was quoted as dropping this hint when members of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and representatives of all trade unions submitted a report of their efforts at seeking alternative sources of revenue for the state in the face of the dwindling revenues from the federation account.
“I must announce this to all of you that as from next month (January), no revenue official will be allowed to come in contact with cash again. This is because we have decided to go digital in our revenue collection. So, be it school fees, fines, charges, and all other forms of payment in obligations to the government by the citizens, no cash will be collected again,” Aregbesola told the representatives of the workers.
The governor, while explaining to the workers why his government has taken the bold step, said the government, at this critical time, must know what accrues to it and not only what is recorded by revenue collection officials.
Aregbesola had earlier described as patriotic, selfless and commendable, the initiative by the workers in the state to confront the dwindling resources of the state arising from the persistent meagre allocation from the Federal Government by, on their own volition, seeking fresh avenues of generating revenues to ensure economic survival of the state.
“I thank the entire workforce in the state for their sense of responsibility; for their exhibition of the Omoluabi ethos.
“I find it difficult to deprive any worker his or her income at the end of each month. So, for the workers to express their readiness to tolerate and absorb the delay in salary payment is the highest demonstration of understanding and patriotism. That sense of duty, patriotism and extreme sacrifice is appreciated.
“We will study this report very seriously and intimately and come up with our own white paper of the actions of government such that at the end of the day, you will come to appreciate the deep consideration we shall give to your suggestions,” he was quoted as saying
Aregbesola regretted that the revenue crisis had created complications in the payment of salaries across the country saying, “Either at the federal or at the state level, where is it that are workers in this country are being paid as at when due?
“We thought this situation will not last long. That was why we used our strategic reserve to augment salaries for one year. All our savings were spent on augmentation of salaries. Our commitment to the welfare of workers is incomparable.”
Chairman of the NLC in the state, Comrade Saka Adesiyan, while explaining why the workers took the initiative, said it was more realistic for workers, having seen the true picture and bearing in mind the previous good disposition of the Aregbesola administration to workers’ welfare, to embark on moves to find alternative ways of getting revenues to run the state.
Comrade Adetunji Oladele of the Trade Union Congress, who read the highlight of the proposals by the workers before presenting the document to the governor, said the committee set up met all the 64 agencies in the state to seek their inputs into the proposal.
“We did that so that no agency would claim that they are not aware of the initiative. Everybody contributed. We made them to understand that the economy of the state is going down to an extent that if we don’t look inward on how to increase the Internally Generated Revenue, we might not be able to sustain ourselves.
The TUC chairman expressed hope that the government would have the needed political will to embark on some of the proposals in order to ensure adequate revenue for the state.