Workers deserve new minimum wage, says Gov Ortom
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Workers deserve new minimum wage, says Gov Ortom

- Governor Samuel Ortom has said workers in his state deserve to earn more than the new minimum wage of N30, 000

- The governor said if he had his way, he would pay Benue workers more than the required amount

- According to him, his government is already looking inwards to generate funds for the state

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state on Monday, May 13, said workers in his state deserve to earn more than the new minimum wage of N30, 000.

He, however, said that he was constrained by scarce resources and that he was blocking all financial loopholes to ensure that the state meets up with its financial responsibility.

Governor Ortom stated this while finding questions from State House correspondents after meeting behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He was reacting to reports indicating that his state was among 17 states that were insolvent as their Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) in 2018 were far below 10 per cent of their receipts from the Federation Account Allocations (FAA) in the same year.

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According to him, his government is already looking inwards to generate funds for the state.

His word: “The plan is to look inward and see how we can generate more funds, improve on our internally generated revenue (IGR), lock some leakages and see how we can cut down cost of governance and see where that will take us.

“One thing is that I believe in dialogue and I am very transparent with my finances, they are for everyone to see. I have been very cordial with workers in Benue state. For me, if I have my way they should even earn more than N30,000 if the resources are there, they deserve it, we go to the same market and so we know the cost of living and other things are involved.

“The challenge is whether the resources will be there. I believe that we will look for ways and I believe it is not only Benue state, there are about 17 states…all together maybe at governors forum, there will be a way to get out of it.”

The governor also said since Nigeria is a federation, there must be synergy between states and the federal government to be able to surmount the security challenges, to be able to safe lives and properties.

Commenting on the security situation in the state, he said that the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017 was yielding positive results.

He said with the enforcement of the law, there was relative peace regarding the herdsmen/farmers crisis in Benue, adding that a total of 400 people have been arrested for violating the law out of which, 50 of them have been convicted.

Meanwhile, a group, Connected Development, recently commended the new policy by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) that seeks to grant Local Government Areas (LGAs) financial autonomy and address gross misappropriation, corruption, money laundering, and security threats at the grassroots level.

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The NFIU recently released guidelines barring financial institutions from allowing transactions from State Joint Local Government Accounts (SJLGA), and approving that funds be disbursed to local governments’ accounts, strengthening the financial autonomy of the LGAs.

Reacting to the announcement, the group commended NFIU for the development, stating that the policy caters to the welfare of the people at the grassroots who are marginalised and discounted because funds meant for the development of their communities were diverted.

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