Benue Governor, Samuel Ortom, said his administration needs N40 billion to clear the backlog of salary arrears owed workers of the state.
Ortom made this known in a statement issued on Sunday in Makurdi by his Special Adviser on Media and ICT, Tahav Agerzua.
He denied owing workers up to 10 months at a stretch, explaining that he has not breached his agreement with labour leaders in the state concerning the mode of salary payment.
“I have kept my agreement with labour leaders that as a result of insufficient funds, the federal allocation of two months would be combined to pay one month’s complete salary for workers.”
According to him, it is the accumulation of the unpaid months that gave the wrong impression of 10 months at a stretch.
Ortom also expressed regret that the N8.2 billion inherited wage bill had compounded the financial situation of the state.
He said his administration has, however, reduced the wage bill to N7.8 billion, adding that the recovery of looted funds would help address the challenge of unpaid salaries faced by his administration.
The governor said the state of emergency declared on the payment of salaries would focus on reducing the wage bill and clearing the backlog of arrears owed workers.