Governor Samuel Ortom has stated that the Benue State government is currently paying the highest wage bill in Northern Nigeria which has compounded the issue of salaries payment.
Speaking on Sunday, July 31, 2022 while featuring on TVC News ‘Journalist Hangout’, Governor Ortom also decried the lawlessness that has engulfed the nation, saying Nigerians were living in distress.
He explained that Benue State, which is predominantly an agrarian state, is paying the highest wage bill in the northern region of the country ranking after Lagos and Rivers State, emphasising that his administration has been able to reduce the burden of unpaid salaries.
Governor Ortom noted that despite the paucity of funds, his administration was working assiduously to clear outstanding salaries, stressing that with the domestication of the PENCOM law, the state government has contributed over five billion Naira to take care of pensions in the near future.
According to the Governor, “This is the first time in Benue State, the government has made the efforts we have made to clear pensions. As soon as a certain benchmark is reached with the domestication of the Pension Commission law, we will be able to source the funds and clear the pensions arrears,” he stated.
The Governor further explained that his administration inherited pension and salary arrears of N70 billion, “but we have drastically reduced it to N40 billion,” he said.
He pointed out that all the labour unions in Benue are aware of what comes into the state, saying that is why there are no industrial actions as was the case before now.
Governor Ortom challenged anyone who accuses him of misappropriating funds to come out with their facts.
He however decried the incessant attacks on his people by marauding herdsmen which he said had impacted negatively on the state’s agricultural fortunes as well as other sectors of the economy.
The Governor reiterated his call for self defence by citizens, condemning lawlessness and impunity of whatever form in the country.