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Council sacks 700 workers under PSPS as Okowa battles cash crunch


Delta state Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa

Delta state Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa

Following the present economic recession and unpaid workers’ salaries, the Oshimili South Local Government Area in Delta State has disengaged no fewer than 700 youths under the Private Sector Participants (PSPS) in the evacuation of waste across Asaba and its environs.

Investigation revealed that the local council had earlier sacked 27 out of the 41 PSPS after their alleged lobby to retain their job failed.

But in a protest letter to the State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, signed by the President Association of Waste Managers in the State, Maxwell Egbe, the sacked workers alleged the council took the decision unilaterally after they were trained by World Bank, arguing that the development presently rendered about 700 persons jobless.

While wondering why the council authorities allegedly defrauded the youths of N10,000 each before throwing them out of business, Egbe sought to know if the sack was in line with the Governor’s avowed prosperity and wealth creation Agenda for all Deltans.

The protest letter read in part: “The decision to reduce our number from 41 to 17 was not only frustrating the employment vision of the government of the state, but making the state capital dirty as the 17 PSPS lacked the capacity to do the job effectively. On the 10th of May, 2016, members of our association were invited to Oshimili South Local Government secretariat for what it called
‘registration and re-validation’ that was how we suspected foul play.”

But efforts to get reaction from the council boss, Chuks Obossom and the state chairman of Waste Management Board, Chief Okolotu were not successful as none of them pick their calls or return the calls.

Meanwhile, the shortfall in oil receipts including threats to internally generated revenue in the wake of closure of major oil companies operating in the state, are currently raising concern.

Already, biometric profiling of the state civil servants had reportedly cut the state’s monthly wage bill by N600million. Giving the situation, investigation revealed the state had had to resort to internally Generated Revenue, (IGR) to make up for the excess, thereby pegging the IGR at N3billion.

Speaking to journalists, a member of the state internal Revenue Board, Barry Gbe said: “Right now we are getting N3million from IGR but that too, is being threatened as a result of the renewed activities of militants in parts of the state on our major tax paying companies, like Chevron and its sister companies, if the IGR goes down, the state would be in crisis, right now we are doing N3billion but if it threatened, those on site are now the essential workers, so we still have the PAYE tax of those individuals.

“But the moment it gets worse, they would also be withdrawn by their employers, and no location would pay tax to us.”

Further investigation revealed that the state had a total debt value accrued from staff salaries and emolument of N36,417,217,601.53 as at September 2015; N10,936,799,299,36 was granted as bailout find for the state with a  balance of N2,806,911,019.50.

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