Benue State Governor, Dr Samuel Ortom has debunked claims that the state got up to N3 billion from the state account for the month of June as he shed more light into the state’s finances yesterday when he hosted journalists at the Benue Peoples House.
Ortom said contrary to the rumours making the rounds, the state state received just a little above half of that.
“We did not receive N3 billion from the federation account. We received N1.7 billion from statutory allocation and about N500 million from value added tax. But like I told you, they were overdrafts and loans that were waiting to swallow this to the tune of N1.6 billion. And so, that is where we are.”
The governor said the N10 billion loan incurred by that state government was not only meant for payment of salaries but also to ensure the smooth take off of the executive and legislative arms of the state government.
He then gave a breakdown on how much he had spent so far on salaries.
“It may interest you to know that the loan of N10 billion we got, we decided that we will pay at least two months salaries.”
“And may interest you to know that for the month of May, the salaries including pensions and overheads, we had to cough out N3.7 billion and if the same thing applies to June, it means salaries for the two months will be N7.4 billion.”
“And that was why we said we will pay that of May and that of June, we’ll do an audit of the staff to ascertain the actual amount of salaries because the salary bill we are getting, to us, it’s on the high side. Otherwise the monies meant for June salaries is ready.”
The governor reiterated that even though he inherited not just an empty, but deficit treasury, he was making efforts to boost the internally generated revenue from the current N250 million to N2 billion.
Governor Ortom earlier solicited the cooperation of the journalists in his administration urging them to be constructive in their criticism as they were also partners in the governance of the state.
” I’m not asking you to flatter me or sugarcoat me, but I’m looking forward to work with you as partners. Please criticise me, but be constructive. Knowing fully well that you are also stakeholders.”