Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom yesterday promised that the N18.5 billion loan approved for states by the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will be judiciously applied by his administration.
The federal government had approved a loan facility of N18.5 billion to be disbursed to states with a moratorium of two years and repayment period of 30 years.
Governor Ortom who spoke with journalists at the government house on his return from Abuja, acknowledged economic challenges faced by states of the federation including the federal government which has led to borrowing of trillions of naira.
“I want to commend the federal government for remembering us. It is a welcome development, you are aware of the challenges of Benue state and other states of the first. You talk about salaries, pensions, gratuity, infrastructural deficit even those that were awarded and those that were awarded before we came in we have not been able to pay.
“We are running a deficit budget so even the N18 billion may not be enough to cover the challenges we have at hand”.
Governor Ortom pointing out that his administration is also paying loans taken by previous military and civilian administrations in the state.
He promised to meet with the that the state executive council to deliberate and take appropriate decisions on application of the loan, expressing the hope that the money will add value to the development of the state.
Alluding to the issue of direct primaries, the governor noted that said it is more expensive to conduct, but that as a law-abiding citizen, he will abide by it if assented to by the President.
“As a veteran politician of over 40 years, I have passed through direct primaries, indirect primaries, the Option A4 system, consensorsship and many others but I tell you that direct primaries is more expensive. It is more less transparent because of the inability to have the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to go round and even within the party circuit to have a reliable people that you can send to conduct a free, fair process, but once it becomes a law I will support it”.
Governor Ortom who also threw light on the garnishee orders against the state government said efforts are being made to resolve all issues concerning the garnishee orders from the Federal High Court Abuja and the FCT Court.