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…Says it can no longer cope with N7.7 billion monthly wage bill
By Festus Ahon
FOLLOWING the dwindling global economy occasioned by the ravaging coronavirus pandemic, the Delta State Government, weekend, said there would be a review of the salary of political appointees and workers on salary grade level 7 and above for six months with effect from July 2020.
Secretary to the State Government, Mr Chiedu Ebie, who disclosed this, yesterday, while briefing newsmen in Asaba, said the decision was part of measures to overcome the debilitating effect of COVID-19 on the national economy.
Saying that the state government had adopted interim fiscal measures to sustain public spending, Ebie noted that the decision to review workers’ salary was reached at a consultative meeting with the organised labour in the state.
He said the review was painful, difficult but inevitable, adding that it was a sacrifice that was needed to keep the state moving.
He lamented that the downward review of the 2020 budget by N113 billion was as a result of the dwindling revenue caused by COVID-19.
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The SSG said that the review was not a repudiation of the new minimum wage in the state but a temporary measure that would be lifted as soon as the economy improves, insisting that it was without any prejudice to other staff entitlements like promotion.
Ebie said: “You will recall that for the same reason of dwindling revenues caused by the debilitating ripples of the pandemic, the state government recently reviewed its 2020 budget downward by over N113 billion, representing more than a 28 per cent shrinkage of the original fiscal projections for the year.
“As we continue to grapple with the difficulties associated with servicing other existing and equally important obligations to citizens, we remain profoundly committed to infrastructural development across the state as can be seen from some of the projects that are still ongoing despite the pandemic and its suffocating impact on the economy.
“As a responsible government, the Okowa led administration is firmly committed to the welfare and interest of its workforce and citizens of the state.
“It has amply demonstrated this commitment by being one of the few states in the federation to have faithfully and fully implemented the new minimum wage which became operational in November 2019. Therefore, the proposed wage review is a painful and difficult decision but inevitable in our current circumstances”.
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