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COVID-19: Salary review effective July, as Delta adopts interim fiscal measures 

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The Delta State Government has adopted interim fiscal measures to sustain public spending, as part of efforts to overcome the debilitating effect of COVID-19 on the national economy, with a review of salary of political appointees and workers on salary grade level Seven and above for six months, with effect from this month.
 
Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Chiedu Ebie, who disclosed this yesterday in Asaba while briefing journalists, said the decision to review workers salary was reached at a consultative meeting with the organised Labour in the state. 
 
Ebie, stated that the decision was painful, difficult and inevitable, but a sacrifice that was needed to keep the state moving, adding that the downward review of this year’s budget by N113 billion was as a result of the dwindling revenue caused.
 

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According to the SSG: “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, as it were without any prejudice to other staff entitlements like promotion.
 
“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 over 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 Ifeanyi 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 last year.

“Therefore, the proposed wage review is a painful and difficult decision, but inevitable in our current circumstances.”

He advocated strict adherence to protocols that would keep COVID-19 in check in the state. 
 
In their separate remarks, Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Fidelis Tilije, and his Information counterpart, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, said the monthly savings of the state government cannot offset the its wage bill of N7.7billion, saying the state has a workforce of 48,000.
 

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They also noted that the drop in oil production from 2.3 million barrels per day to 1.4 million and general decline in revenue had negatively affected the state economically, even as they sued for the cooperation of all in handling the situation.
 
State Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Martin Bolum, who spoke on behalf of the Labour, said the decision was one of the ways to keep the state afloat in this period of pandemic, saying the present salary review was for a while.

Head of Service, Mr. Reginald Bayoko, appealed to workers to see the development as a sacrifice by accepting the decision in good faith.
 
Meanwhile, Okowa has assured that ultra-modern multi-billion naira state secretariat complex being executed by the state government in Asaba would be ready for inauguration in October, this year.

While expressing satisfaction with the level of work on the project in spite of delay occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, he urged the contracting firm to sustain the pace of work.
 
Conducting the governor round various sections of the project, representative of the contracting firm, Mr. Kester Ifeadi, commended the governor for his support towards the early completion of the project, assuring that work would be completed in line with contractual agreement, as everything needed for the project to be completed was already on ground.

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