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Plateau stops sponsorship of pilgrims

Jude Owuamanam, Jos

Plateau State Governor, Mr. Simon Lalong, said that his government would no longer sponsor Christian and Muslim pilgrims to Jerusalem and Mecca.

Lalong disclosed this in a broadcast on Sunday while marking his first year anniversary in office, in Jos, saying his administration could no longer shoulder such a financial responsibility.

He explained that the position of the government was as a result of the dwindling resources accruable to the state.

The governor said that from a statutory allocation of over N4bn during the last political dispensation, the state now receives less than N1bn monthly, adding that the state had to re-engineer its Internally Generated Revenue in order to stay afloat.

Lalong said that on assumption of office, his government inherited an empty treasury with a huge debt profile of over N222bn and limited potential for Revenue earning.

He also said that he inherited only N93m from his predecessor.

The governor said that his administration had embarked on biometric verification to determine the actual number of the state’s workforce.

He said, “We were forced to grapple with a dwindling inflow from both the Federation Account and Internally Generated Revenue. The double tragedy of low revenue was also tied to an Irrevocable Standing Payment Order. Plateau was a state that was disillusioned as citizens watched a clique who primitively amassed wealth through the privatisation of governance and the common wealth of the citizenry.”

The governor said that he also inherited a massive award of contracts for roads and other infrastructures without sufficient funds to complete them.

He said this was compounded by the non passage of the budget by the previous House of Assembly, thus stalling government’s activities.

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