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Ortom leaves N187bn debt to successor



Samuel Ortom

The outgoing governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, on Sunday handed over to the incoming governor, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia.

The event took place at the Old Banquet Hall of Government House, Makurdi.

In his speech, Ortom said his administration was handing over N187bn debt which makes up of salary arrears, loan, contractual obligations and others.

The outgoing governor, who gave summary of contents in his handover note, said a total of N734.9bn accrued to the state through out his eight years.

He added that the expenditure gulped N735.6bn, admitting that debt situation of the state was on a high side.

He said, “This handover note contained not only structure but activities of my eight years administration. It has sectoral briefs of the agencies, ministry and departments.

“It contains three volumes; volume one is handover of all MDAs, volume two comprises policy document of my administration, (the Benue development plan) the part b is the comprehensive briefs submitted by ministries and agencies and part three contains highlightes of debt profile and pension.

“The revenue and income from all sources; federation account, Value Added Tax, grants, loans and others stand at N734.9bn as at the end of April while the expenditure stands at N735.6bn as at the end of April.

“The indebtedness of the state, which comprises salary arrears, pension, contractual obligations and others, is N187bn.”

The outgoing governor said, “The debt situation of the state might appear on the high side but government has taken significant steps to reduce this through debt swap with the Federal Government.”

Ortom informed the incoming governor to make use of the opportunities of funds that will soon be available to him, such as backlog of stamp duty and N61bn loan facilities from the Central Bank of Nigeria for a smooth take-off.

In his brief remarks, the incoming governor appreciated Ortom for the handover.

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