Benue seeks loan to pay workers’ salary aside Paris Club refund

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom

The Benue State government wants to obtain loan from undisclosed financial institutions to augment N6.5 billion it got from Paris Club Refund to pay workers’ salaries.

The Acting Governor, Benson Abounu, yesterday while fielding questions from journalists at Benue People’s House after a meeting with labour leaders in the state, stressed that payment of workers salaries is an uphill task for the state.

Abounu however, explained that to secure such loan from any financial institution, the state must get clearance from the Federal Ministry of Finance as well as Debt Management Office (DMO), Abuja.

“Government will do everything possible to clear the salaries of workers. That is why we want to secure a loan from a financial institution. We do not want to embark on half solution but full one. The Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), ranging between N250 million to N300 million is inadequate to augment with federation allocation to pay salaries.”

The State Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Godwin Anya, expressed disgust noting that the Paris Club Refund of N6.5 million given to the state is insufficient to pay salary owed workers.

Anya however blamed the State government for being nonchalant about workers salary, stressing that with the declaration of state of emergency on Salaries by Governor Samuel Ortom, it was expected that government should sourced for funds elsewhere possible to clear backlogs of salary arrears.

Meanwhile, Oyo State Government yesterday described as “misinformation” the rumour making the round that it is indebted to the banks to the tune of N115 billion.

The government said it has not approached any bank for such loan. The Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Bimbo Adekanmbi, who clarified issues on the debt profile of the state stated said that the total debt profile of the state was N115.6b, which has been accumulated over the years. He said out of this debt, pensioners are owed N56 billion while about 20 per cent of the amount was indebted to the contractors.

The Commissioner who was flanked his counterpart at Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun disclosed that the state government has been using 100 per cent of its allocation from the federal allocation and budget support to pay salaries and wages.

He put the salaries of Oyo State workers at N5.2 billion per month while its federal allocation fluctuates between N2.8 and N3.2b while the state Internally Generated Revenue hovers around N1.2b.

He disclosed that the governor has promised to spend 60 per cent of the current N7.9 billion Paris Club refund to settle parts of the outstanding salaries, pensions and gratuities.

According to him, out of the first tranche of N7.2 billion Paris Club fund received, the state government spent over 60 per cent of the fund in settling outstanding salaries and pension obligations, as against the stipulated 50 percent by the Federal Government for the settlement of salaries and pension obligations.

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