Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom says President Muhammadu Buhari would extend bailout to states to enable them offset backlog of salaries and liabilities crippling their economic activities across the country.
Speaking, yesterday, in Makurdi, the state capital, during separate meetings with students and other union leaders from the Benue State University (BSU), Ortom revealed that his predecessor, Gabriel Suswam left behind a debt burden of over N90 billion for his administration, contrary to the N9.2 billion debt he claimed he left.
According to Ortom, “the list of the debt (left behind by Suswam) include N50 billion incurred from ongoing contracts, N18 billion on certificated contracts, N12 billion on salary arrears and about N10 billion for bonds and bank facilities and loans.”
While the state waits for the lifeline from the FG, Ortom said Benue had concluded arrangements to borrow funds to pay one month of the backlog of salary arrears across board and to also ensure the take off of both the executive and legislative arms of government.
He said the decision was prompted by the need to demonstrate to the state work force that he was determined to address their problems and to persuade striking tertiary institution workers to call off their four-month-old strike.
Benue is among the cash-strapped states in the country. Others include Osun, Enugu, Kaduna, Plateau and Imo. Most of the states or their local governments are said to be owing between four to seven months salaries of workers amounting to several billions of Naira.