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COVID-19: Delta adopts interim fiscal measures to sustain public spending ~ Truth Reporters

24 July 2020   |   3:36 pm

Delta State Government on Friday said it has adopted interim fiscal measures aimed at ensuring prudent and sustainable public spending as COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a toll on the state's finances.

Secretary to the State Government, Mr Chiedu Ebie disclosed this at a news conference in Asaba.

He said the state was grappling with shortfall in revenue following drop in crude oil prices occasioned by the global Coronavirus pandemic.

Ebie stressed that the government’s interim measures will last for only six months and will reverse to the old order once revenue available to government improves.

According to him, following the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the National economy which culminated in a sharp drop in revenues accruing to all tiers of government, Delta State Government having consulted with the Organised Labour is constrained to announce the review of salaries of certain levels of its workforce, including political appointees for a period of six months with effect from July, 2020.

"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 N113B (One Hundred and Thirteen Billion Naira), representing more than a 28%(Twenty-eight percent) 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 interests 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 operative in November, 2019.Therefore, the proposed wage review is a painful and difficult decision but inevitable in our current circumstances.

"For the avoidance of doubt, it is important to state that the temporary review of salaries: Is only applicable to Political Appointees and Workers on Salary Grade Levels 7 and above, and does not affect Workers on Salary Grade Levels 1-6 and frontline medical personnel, "Is NOT a repudiation of the payment of the new minimum wage in the state but a temporary measure that will be lifted as soon as the economy improves (which we hope will be within the next six months) and this is without prejudice to other staff entitlements such as promotions and/or advancements to deserving Workers.

"We therefore urge the State Workforce and Political Appointees to see this as a necessary sacrifice and contribution by them towards cushioning the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the finances and overall economy of the state.

"At this point, the government wishes to express our deep appreciation to the leadership and membership of the Organised Labour in the state for their understanding and support during these trying times.

"As we continue to confront the pandemic which is an unprecedented challenge, we urge all Deltans to be steadfast and cooperate with government by observing the prescribed protocols of: "Wearing of Facemasks in Public and Crowded places, Improved hygiene by regular washing of their hands with soap and water or the use of alcohol based sanitizers and Physical distancing of at least two meters." he stated.

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