Lalong left N307bn debt, no record of expenditure from Jan-May, 2023 - Report - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Monday, July 10, 2023

Lalong left N307bn debt, no record of expenditure from Jan-May, 2023 - Report

Contrary to the earlier belief that Plateau State has a debt burden of over N200bn, a recent report revealed that former Governor Simon Lalong's administration left a total debt burden of N307bn for his successor. 

The report also disclosed that the former administration had no record of expenditure between January and May 2023.

This was revealed on Monday when the Committee on a Four-Year Strategic Development Blueprint for Plateau State and that of the Plateau State Transition Committee all headed by Professor Ganyir Lombin presented the findings to the State Governor, Caleb Mutfwang at the Government House in Jos. 

Professor Lombin who headed the two Committees said that the out-gone administration of Simon Lalong did not avail the Committee of the opportunity of making inputs into the handover documents submitted to the joint committee before May 29, 2023, which he stated were "scanty and lacked necessary details and did not follow the agreed template developed by the Joint Committee"

His words, "The handover notes stated that the revenue which accrued to the Plateau State Government from May 2015 to May 2023 stood at N872 billion. The total expenditure was only given from May 2015 to December 2022 and not up to May 2023 at N810 billion. Does this suggest that there was no expenditure from January 2023 to May 2023, or was it deliberate misinformation?

"The government needs to look at this critically and where necessary, take approximate action. There is no clear figure for the state’s Monthly wage bill. However, this administration has inherited a backlog of four months of unpaid salaries to public servants amounting to over N11 billion. Outstanding gratuity and Pension arrears of N24 billion was also inherited.

"The Legacy Projects are marred in controversies and unresolved legal cases which have stalled their implementation. Currently, the sum of N12 billion for this project is still in the custody of the Trustees of the funds. There are 3, 692 items of Government  Assets and Properties including cars, houses that were sold and auctioned at a ridiculous price both within and outside the State. This needs to be further investigated and where necessary, appropriate action be taken."

Prof. Lombin said Governor Caleb Mutfwang inherited a near-bankrupt state, with weak institutions, low public morale, and a high level of insecurity but with high expectations from the citizenry and described the task ahead of Governor Mutfwang as "enormous but not insurmountable" and expressed joy in the manner in which the Governor is determined to succeed in the pursuit of the collective interest of the Plateau people.

Receiving the reports, Governor Mutfwang said, "I want to assure you all that these reports will not gather dust on the shelves. We are going to make prudent use of them and study them appropriately. These reports will give rise to further investigation, will give rise to further studies that we need to embark upon and we will not waste time in doing so by the grace of God. You highlighted the debt burden. I knew that throughout the campaign, we were under the mistaken belief that our debt burden was around N200 billion and to hear that it is  N307 billion is quite intimidating and worrisome

"But by the grace of God, the challenges we are confronted with are not insurmountable. Of particular concern is the issue of security which unfortunately has become to us, a major distraction. We are confident that by the grace of God, with some of the new security personnel on the ground, and with the Special Adviser on Security assuming responsibility, we will be able to see a difference, not too long from now."

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