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Benue Cargo airport private sector driven—Ortom

Benue State Governor, Chief Samuel Ortom has revealed that the state is not spending a single naira on the proposed cargo airport in his state as it is purely a private initiative.

Speaking to State House Correspondents on Thursday, the governor said those opposed to the idea are speaking out of ignorance and mischief.

It would be recalled that the proposed cargo airport in Benue State has attracted condemnation from a cross section of Nigerians who see the project as needless and unnecessary in view of the current economic recession.

Ortom said, from his background as a former minister of trade and investment he knew that globally, it is the private sectors that are driving the economies of the world.

Those expressing reservations are doing so out of ignorance or mischief. It’s a straight forward matter. Before I came in as governor, I went round the state and campaign and I told my people that government alone cannot the needed dividends or our people.

He said “The cargo airport is purely a private initiative by a consortium, Benue state government is not going to pay N1. How can I go to construct an airport when I can’t pay salaries as at when due? There is no need for that. But is going to be a hub for the entire West Africa, lifts cargo especially agricultural produce to other parts of the world.

The Governor explained that the consortium has arranged a funding of this project and because the state  is providing the enabling environment and providing land, they have also offers the state governments 15 per cent equity.

Just as he disclosed that the 15 per cent equity contribution has been arranged by this same consortium, government is not paying N1.

He said the payment will only come when the project is completed and  they will pay back within a secured period and the concessional agreement is for 25 years and the government will  renegotiate.

“So to me, this is manner from heaven and we have well received it back home in the state. And to those who are expressing reservations saying we are spending money, the question is where is the money to spend?

Ortom noted that the N38 billion is not just going to be for cargo airport, it is going to provide a chain of projects that would really promote the economy of the state.

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