No Borrowing Now, My Administration Inherited N192.2bn Debt – Abia Gov, Otti

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Abia State Governor, Alex Otti, has said he inherited N192.2bn debt from his predecessor, Okezie Ikpeazu, mentioning that his government is cautioned from borrowing at the moment.

Otti on Friday during an interaction with journalists, on his part, inherited N34.5bn from his predecessor.

He said, however, that some of the debts have been paid off as they are with high-interest rates, adding, “It is tough, but we have to do it. We manage our expenses well and are able to live.”

Otti also expressed his happiness that at the state did not feature in the list of debtor states recently released by the Debt Management Office.

He added, “Opposition said we borrowed N148bn, and we debunked it. We will borrow when the need arises, but for now, we are managing.

“I have been consistent with the cost of governance and managing. Borrowing money is not bad, but what you do with the money you borrowed. Where the money for projects I am doing in the state is coming from is my secret. We have been able to manage and cut costs. We are doing financial engineering.”

On his payment of pension arrears. the governor said, “We had promised last year to pay off the pension arrears but are saddled with a difficult verification exercise that ended a few weeks ago.

“All pensions have been paid as of last Thursday. All the arrears have been taken away. These pensioners who would have been begging for money are now feeding by themselves.

“So, we have returned power to these pensioners. 12,500 of them were paid. Going forward, 100% of their entitlement will be paid as and when due. We have always paid 100% salaries. Never again will we have a backlog of pensions, some of which date back to 2014.”

Otti expressed his happiness that work is going on by mayors at all the local government areas headquarters in the state, stating that 90% of the headquarters were in dilapidation stage following neglect by previous administrations.

On the alleged hijack of Local Government funds, the governor said, “LG funds can’t be hijacked under my watch. The LGAs are working. It is impossible to hijack the funds under me. Soon, salary arrears of parastatals will be paid as they have been keyed in.”

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