Sunday, April 14, 2024

You lied about Benue’s debts, revenue – Ortom tells Alia

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Former Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, has requested his successor, Hyacinth Alia, to show his claims concerning the funds of the state together with incomes, the wage invoice and money owed.

Ortom, who was reacting to Alia’s latest interview, accused the governor of embarking on gildings and stunning fabrications.

An announcement issued by Terver Akase, Ortom’s media aide, stated: “We learn an interview granted by the Governor of Benue State, Hyacinth Alia which was printed in Vanguard newspaper titled ‘Father Alia’s stunning revelations: In Benue, we had extra ghost colleges, employees than actual ones’.

“Within the stated interview, the Governor was quoted to have acknowledged that the federal government of his predecessor, Chief Samuel Ortom left arrears of salaries operating into tons of of billions of naira; “I’ve not been in a position to offset the arrears. It’s in tons of of billions of naira, I cannot care for that now…”

“Governor Alia was additionally quoted to have claimed that he inherited “extra ghost colleges than the prevailing useful colleges”.

“We discover the above statements not solely false and deceptive but in addition marvel why the Governor would embark on gildings and stunning fabrications to maintain such a story, in continuation of his smear marketing campaign towards his predecessor.

“Curiously, Governor Alia made the allegations with out substantiating any of his claims with figures.

“It’s simplistic to state that the current authorities inherited arrears of wages in tons of of billions. The query is; what’s the general wage invoice of the state if the arrears of employees’ emoluments run into tons of of billions?
Does Governor Alia need the individuals to imagine that his predecessor didn’t pay salaries even for one month in eight years?

“It’s on document that in his 2024 price range speech, Governor Alia stated his authorities would spend the entire of N56.4 billion for the yr on personnel price (salaries, pensions and gratuities). He additionally admitted in the identical price range speech that within the 2024 fiscal yr, “Personnel price as a part of the recurrent price is anticipated to extend by 17.1% as towards the provisions manufactured from the identical votes within the Revised 2023 price range”, implying that his predecessor was additionally paying employees wages.”

Persevering with, the assertion added: “It needs to be emphasised that regardless of the 2 recessions Nigeria went into (2016 and 2020), the Ortom administration was in a position to pay salaries in an uninterrupted method between January 2018 and the tip of 2022.

“However even when we had been to think about that the Ortom administration didn’t pay wages for an entire yr, the determine would by no means have run into tons of of billions. So what actually did Governor Alia hope to realize with such a weighty however unfounded narrative?

“Governor Alia yesterday, whereas responding by way of his Chief Press Secretary, to the sub-national debt report by the Debt Administration Workplace (DMO) that Benue was amongst 13 states which have borrowed cash from home and exterior financiers between June and December 2023, blamed the Ortom administration for the money owed that had been reported to have been incurred after his predecessor left workplace.

“It will likely be recalled that Governor Ortom, in his handover speech on Could 28, 2023 was specific that although the debt scenario of the State Authorities on the time of his exit from workplace may look like on the excessive aspect (N187.56 billion), his administration had taken proactive steps to barter and guarantee important debt discount/reliefs resulting in Debt Swap Between Benue State and Federal Authorities as facilitated by the Nigerian Governors Discussion board. Whole Debt Swap for State and Native Authorities Councils stood at N71.6billion.

“The inflows Benue State was anticipating on the time Governor Ortom was leaving workplace had been: (a) Backlog of gathered Stamp Duties – N48billion, (b) Refund from Debt Swap with Federal Authorities – N22.95 billion. Whole = N70.95 billion. When the negotiated debt swap and the anticipated inflows are discounted, the State was set to realize a major debt discount, bringing down its debt profile to N45.2 billion.

“It also needs to be famous that owing to the efforts of the Ortom administration, Benue State as at Could 29, 2023, had excellent approvals awaiting disbursement from the Federal Authorities together with the steadiness of Bailout – N41 billion and a N20 billion Central Financial institution of Nigeria facility. On the identical time, the Benue State authorities was anticipating N9 billion as refund on withdrawals for subsidy and SURE-P.

“We anticipated the Governor to demand proof from the Debt Administration Workplace to show that Benue is certainly one of many states which have incurred money owed from June 2023.

“We problem the Governor to make the next public:

“i) The figures/complete of arrears of salaries he inherited on Could 29, 2023 with proof/paperwork supporting such statistics.

“ii) A listing of the ghost colleges that his authorities claims to have found and an inventory of the prevailing useful ones.

“iii) Throw mild on his assertion that he has “saved near N3 billion from ghost employees”. This clarification ought to specify the wage invoice of the state in the intervening time, after ‘N3 billion has been saved from ghost employees’.

“iv) The debt profile of the state between Could 28, 2023 and March 31, 2024.

“v) Month-to-month allocations from the federation’s account which have accrued to the state since June 2023.

“iv) Demand proof or retraction from the Debt Administration Workplace over their inclusion of Benue on the record of states which have incurred money owed between June and December 2023.

“Whereas we don’t wish to touch upon Governor Alia’s commercial of Benue because the least developed state within the nation, we make daring to state that Benue persons are nonetheless acknowledging and appreciating the Ortom administration’s unprecedented document of setting up extra kilometers of roads in Makurdi, Gboko, Otukpo Vandeikya, Ukum, Agatu and different components of the state.

“The Ortom administration additionally delivered over 1,000 faculty initiatives throughout the 23 native authorities areas, significantly the development and equipping of recent main faculty services, dozens of well being infrastructure, together with main well being centres, quite a few rural electrification initiatives, over 1,000 rural water initiatives, first-of-its-kind, Benue State Geographic Data Service (BENGIS) centre for land digitization which was accomplished and geared up with state-of-the-art services, and constructed magnificent palaces for the Tor Tiv and Och’Idoma in Gboko and Otukpo respectively.

“Although Governor Alia introduced through the interview with Vanguard newspaper that “because the creation of Benue State, it has been a glorified village,” we should state unequivocally that Governor Samuel Ortom handed over a state and never a village to his successor, the assertion submitted.”

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