The current governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, handed over the reins to the new governor, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, on Sunday.
The ceremony was held in Government House’s Old Banquet Hall in Makurdi.
Ortom stated in his speech that his administration was handing over N187 billion in debt, which included wage arrears, loans, contractual commitments, and others.
The outgoing governor, who gave summary of contents in his handover note, said a total of N734.9bn acrued to the state through out his eight years.
He added that the expenditure gulped N735.6bn, admitting that debt situation of the state was on a high side.
He said, “This handover note contained not only structure but activities of my eight years administration. It has sectoral briefs of the agencies, ministry and departments.
“It contains three volumes; volume one is handover of all MDAs, volume two comprises policy document of my administration, (the Benue development plan) the part b is the comprehensive briefs submitted by ministries and agencies and part three contains highlightes of debt profile and pension.
“The revenue and income from all sources; federation account, Value Added Tax, grants, loans and others stand at N734.9bn as at the end of April while the expenditure stands at N735.6bn as at the end of April.
“The indebtedness of the state, which comprises salary arrears, pension, contractual obligations and others, is N187bn.”
The outgoing governor said, “The debt situation of the state might appear on the high side but government has 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 to him, such as backlog of stamp duty and N61bn loan facilities from the Central Bank of Nigeria for a smooth take-off.
In his brief remarks, the incoming governor appreciated Ortom for the handover.