Why I Have Not Paid Workers Salaries Since March – Gov. Ortom

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Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has admitted that he has been unable to pay salaries since March and the arrears of pensions, gratuity and salaries owed have been put on hold.

He admitted the over four months non payment of salaries on Thursday during an interview on Arise TV. But the governor blamed the federal government for the state’s failure.

Ortom had revealed that his government inherited N70bn debt comprising salaries, gratuity and pensions arrears.

But he said despite the difficulties in sourcing funds, he has reduced the debts to N38bn as of July this year.

The governor said, “When I came in 2015, it was a problem. Accumulated salaries over the years beyond the governor that I took overt from, I inherited N70bn arrears of salaries pension and gratuity.

And I have been able to deplete this during my time from 2015 to date and the arrears now stands at just about N38bn which I’m sourcing funds.

Other states too have the same problem and the federal government came in and approved not bailout but loans for them to pay.

“And people said that you cannot bailout by borrowing. That is why even this current federal government is borrowing money everywhere.

The way the economy is today, you cannot do without borrowing to solve your problems in states and all that. Go back, I am not the only one. Several states are suffering the same problems. You heard that over 30 states cannot pay salaries as at when due as at today.


“From 2018, I have been paying salaries until when NNPC because of the fuel subsidy said they cannot remit money into the Federation Account and then we started having problems. It is a general problem that is affecting more than 30 states.”


The governor explained further that the revenue generated in his state is insufficient to offset his bills, adding he can only fund the state through special federal government interventions or borrowing.


He said, “In my state, the IGR how much is it? It is in an average of N500m, but go and check other states that today are comfortable and paying salaries, there IGR is in the region of over N17bn, N20bn and N30bn and so on.




“This is the challenge that we have. If federal government had allowed me to borrow as I requested, this problem would have been solve. But it is a something that I inherited. I have done my best, I have run a transparent governance procedure in my state.


“The leadership of the workers union are in my joint account. They know what comes in and they know what goes out. The issue of salary is a general problem, it is a national problem in this country.


“But you see, the federal government have reduce to support me because each time, I speak truth to power, they come out and say you are not paying salary you should not talk. I didn’t accumulate N70bn of salary. It is not that we have not paid for all this while, when money comes we will pay. We have the challenge of paying the arrears until recently about four months ago which the NNPC could not remit money.”

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