I borrowed only N53.5bn in a year —Ortom

BENUE State governor, Samuel Ortom, has disclosed that his administration has only borrowed N53.5 billion since inception.

The governor made this disclosure during his town hall meeting with stakeholders at Katsina-Ala, Gboko, Adikpo and Vandeikya.

Governor Ortom, who debunked reports that he had borrowed over N100 billion within one year, said all the loans he took were in the interest of the state and judiciously utilised.

Governor Ortom explained that when he took office, he inherited a deficit treasury and had to borrow N10 billion to pay May and June 2015 salaries and facilitate take off of his administration.

The previous administration in the state, throughout its eight years, borrowed N18 billion loan through bonds which he said was used for developmental projects.

Governor Ortom, while giving the breakdown of the loan borrowed within the last one year, said that Federal Government offered the state loans of N28 billion and N10 billion respectively to clear four months salary arrears at the state and local government levels as well as provide critical infrastructure.

He stated that his administration also took a N5.5 billion facility to pay counterpart funding for joint projects with development partners including the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC).

According to the statement signed by special adviser to the governor on media, Mr Tahav Argezua, the governor said the administration partnered with various agencies which included Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), FADAMA 1, 2 and 3 as well as others who have embarked on numerous projects in the state.