Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, yesterday rescinded his decision to construct a multi-billion naira cargo airport in the state citing paucity of funds. The governor had during the presentation of the 2020 budget to the state House of Assembly, promised to invest about N12 billion in the construction of a new airport as part of measures to boost trade and investment.
He said the airport would be financed through Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and would be completed in two years before his exit from office in 2023.
Speaking with journalists in Makurdi shortly after a town hall meeting for the preparation of the 2021 budget, the governor said the project was no longer feasible, adding that his administration ‘is waiting for any other good proposal that can take up the project.’
“The initial arrangement was purely private sector driven, when that failed, we are waiting for any other good proposal that can take up the project. “Government does not have resources to undertake that kind of project for now depending on our priorities; but if there is any private sector engagement that can make that feasible, we will go into it, there is nothing wrong with that.”
Governor Ortom also noted that the Federal Government’s revision of the macroeconomic projections and assumptions in the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) were indications that the fiscal outlook would be considerably worse than it was now.
He expressed worry that the country was still grappling with the economic shocks of the global meitdown occasioned by the oil supply war between Saudi Arabia and Russia and the disruptive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.