Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has approved the release of N400 million for the payment of pension and gratuity to local government and state pensioners every month.
The governor disclosed this while playing host to the national leadership of Benue State University Alumni Association at Benue People’s House on Monday. He said N200 million would be paid to pensioners at each level.
He said the state government decided to use part of the budget support fund from the Federal Government for the purpose and explained that Benue’s budget support fund would be N1.3 billion and N1.1 billion for three and nine months respectively.
”Federal Government decided to approve the option of budget support fund because conditions for obtaining loans from the Paris Club and IMF were too stringent for the country and added that at the last national economic council meeting, it was agreed that Nigeria should diversify its economy through agriculture”, he stated.
The governor stated it has become obvious that oil can no longer sustain Nigeria because of low prices in the international market and activities of Niger Delta Avengers.
He noted that while some states owe workers seven months’ salary, Benue owes local government and state workers’ salaries for five and four months respectively.
Governor Ortom said he uncomfortable with the result of the biometric screening that was carried out in the recent past because the wage bill has increased instead of decreasing.
He said the number of commissioners have been reduced from 17 to 13 while the number of special assistants and other aides has been reduced from 500 to 135 and wondered why the wage bill has not reduced.
Ortom who is also a member of the Alumni, promised to look into the association’s requests for the implementation of 2 per cent local governments’ contribution to the development of the university and the upgrading of the university’s teaching hospital to a Federal University Teaching Hospital.