Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state has directed the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs to pay the October and November 2011 salary arrears of Local Government staff that were not paid at that time.
He gave the directive during the on-going town hall meetings after hearing series of complaints from individuals and union leaders concerning salaries and particularly, bailout funds that were released to the state over eight months ago.
Ortom said even though the arrears were not captured in the initial bailout loan that was obtained it could be paid from the savings of N1.4 billion made from the prudent management of the N15.5 billion facility for local government salary arrears.
According to him, he gave the directive because at the end of June, 2016, all matters concerning the local government bailout would be concluded pointing out that since the money was for payment of salary arrears those affected in 2011 should be paid.
The Governor explained that the difficulty in the payment of salaries was a consequence of dwindling allocation from the Federal allocation arising from falling oil prices and pipeline vandalism.
He said 27 states in the country have difficulty in salary payment and said efforts were being made to raise internally generated revenue in the state to tackle the challenge while further efforts to verify the staff on the payroll were on-going using the Bank Verification Number.
Governor Ortom stated that his administration has embarked on cost saving measures by reducing the size of government machinery, travels and trimming of his allowances and those of his deputy.