Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State says he would hand over a debt burden of N187.5billion to the incoming government of Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia.
He explained that the liability is made up of salary arrears, pensions, gratuity, loans contractual obligations and others.
The Governor who made the revelation Sunday shortly before presenting his handover notes to the Governor-elect said a total sum of N734.9billion accrued to the state in the eight years of his administration.
Governor Ortom who acknowledged that the liabilities of state were on the high side noted that from the accruals to the state, over N735.6billon went to expenditure and other miscellaneous expenses.
He however assured that the debt burden would drop drastically when some expected actuals get to the account of the government.
He said: the total income that accrued to the State within the tenure of my administration from all sources (Statutory income, Value Added Tax, Internally Generated Revenue, other FAAC incomes including Grants, Refunds, and loans) was N734.96billion as at 30th April, 2023.
“The total expenditure on both recurrent items (Salary/wages, Pension and Gratuity, Overhead or cost of running government services, loan service obligations, refunds/remittances to Local Government Councils) and Capital Expenditure amounted to N735.6billion as at 30th April 2023.”
According to him, “the total Indebtedness of the Benue State Government at this timeof the exit of my administration from office is N187.56billion. This is inclusive of Salary and Pension Arrears, Loans and Bonds as well as outstanding Contractual obligations.”
He noted that “although the debt situation of the state government at this time of the exit of my administration might appear to be on the high side, I wish to assure you that my administration has taken proactive steps to negotiate, ensure significant debt reduction/reliefs.
“Thus, by the time you discount or factor in the negotiated debt swap and the expected inflows, the state would attain a debt reduction bringing down the state’s debt profile to N45.2billion
“In addition, Benue State has outstanding approvals awaiting disbursement from the Federal Government.”
Responding, the Governor-elect thanked the outgoing Governor for his service to the state and for presenting the handover note to his administration.
Present at the ceremony were the Deputy Governor-elect, Dr. Sam Ode, his spouse and other top government functionaries