Ortom Assures UN On Counterpart Payment
Denies Suswam’s Debts Burden, Says Real Debt Burden is N90 Billion
BENUE State Governor, Samuel Ortom has assured stakeholders that his administration would always pay its counterpart funding for execution of various United Nation’s programmes in the State.
Ortom gave the assurance in Makurdi yesterday while receiving the UN country team that visited him, saying he would insist that due process and accountability is adhered to in all transactions in line with his government’s zero tolerance for corruption.
He acknowledged the UN support to the state over the years in the area of sanitation, hygiene and water projects as well as reproductive health among others.
The Governor while commending the UN team for donating three Hilux vans and six motorcycles procured by DFID and UNICEF to enhance their operation in Katsina-Ala, Buruku and Obi local government areas, further said the decicion of the UN Country team to host their retreat in Makurdi was also a welcome development.
Earlier, the UN resident Coordinator, Mr. Daouda Toure, said the UN had a long standing partnership for implementation of projects with the state for the attainment of national development aspirations towards the realization of the millennium development goals and other internationally agreed development framework.
The UN resident Coordinator who said the UN technical and financial support to Benue State have been increasing over the years, however expressed concern over the non payment of counterpart funding which he said has affected some support from partners in the State and called on Governor Ortom to take prompt actions in this regard.
Meannwhile, Ortom denies Suswam’s debts burden, says real debt burden is N90 Billion. This statement was made contrary to the earlier disclosure by the immediate past Governor of Benue state, Gabriel Suswam that he was leaving behind only a total debt profile of N9.2 billion.
Ortom has disclosed that preliminary investigation has revealed a debt burden of N90 billion. Ortom made the disclosure yesterday Friday during separate meetings with students and other union leaders from the Benue State University at the old Banquet Hall of Benue Peoples House.
He listed the breakdown of actual debts left behind to include, N50 billion for ongoing contracts, N18 billion for certified jobs, N12 billion for salary arrears and about ten billion for bonds and bank loans.
He also pledged to attend to urgent issues of accreditation at the University with the loan and appealed for understanding and support.
Professor Julius Ashiko who led the delegation of unions regretted that medical students had spent 13 years instead of six and expressed the hope that the unions would consider the appeal while the Governor makes efforts to tackle the challenges. In response, the various Union leaders pledged to relay the appeal to their members and get back to the Governor.
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