Pres. Buhari to bail out states over unpaid salaries-Ortom

Newsmen gathered that Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has said that President Muham-madu Buhari would extend bailout to states to enable them offset backlog of salaries and liabilities crippling their economic activities across the country.

He made this known yesterday in Makurdi, the state capital, during separate meetings with students and other union eaders from the Benue State University, BSU.

Ortom further 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 as claimed by the former governor.

Benue is among the distressed 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 six months salaries of workers amounting to several billions of Naira.

However, 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.”

He stated that the President had agreed to avail the states some lifeline but noted that Benue State government 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 institu-tion workers to call off their four-months-old strike.

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