On Sunday, the outgoing governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, handed over the reins to the incoming governor, Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia, along with a N187 billion debt.
The event was held in Makurdi’s old banquet hall at Government House.
Ortom stated in his speech that his administration was handing over the N187 billion debt, which included salary arrears, loans, contractual obligations, and others.
The outgoing governor stated in his handover note that a total of N734.9 billion was accrued to the state during his eight years in office.
He added that the expenditure and others consumed N735.6 billion, admitting that the state’s debt situation was dire.
He said, “This handover note contained not only structure but activities of my eight years of administration. It has sectoral briefs of the agencies, ministries, and departments.
“It contains three volumes; volume one is the handover of all MDAs, volume two comprises of policy document of my administration, (the Benue development plan) the part b is the comprehensive briefs submitted by ministries and agencies and part three contained highlights of debt profile and pension.
“The revenue and income from all sources; federation account, Value Added Tax, grants, loans, and others stand at N734.9 billion as of the end of April while the expenditure
stand at N735.6b as of the end of April.
“The Indebtedness of the state which comprises salary arrears, pension, contractual obligations, and others is N187 billion.
The outgoing governor added, “The debt situation of the state might appear on the high side but the government had taken significant steps to reduce this through debt swap with the federal government.
Ortom informed the incoming governor to make use of the opportunities of funds that will soon be available for him such as the backlog of stamp duty and N61 billion loan facilities from the Central Bank of Nigeria for smooth take-off.
In his brief remarks, the incoming governor appreciated Ortom for the handover.