The Delta State government has adopted interim fiscal measures to overcome the debilitating effect of COVID – 19 on the economy.
Consequently, the salaries of political appointees and civil servants on salary grade level 7 and above are to be reviewed for six months with effect from July 2020.
Secretary to the Delta State Government, Mr. Chiedu Ebie, who disclosed this on Friday while briefing the press in Asaba, said the decision to that effect was reached at a consultative meeting with the organized Labour.
While stressing that the decision was painful, difficult and inevitable, the SSG said it was a sacrifice that must be made to keep the state moving.
He said the downward review of the 2020 budget by N113 billion naira (one hundred and thirteen billion naira) was as a result of the dwindling revenue caused by COVID-19.
According to him, 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 improved, stressing that it was without any prejudice to other staff entitlements including promotion.
In their separate remarks, the Commissioner for Finance, Sir Fidelis Tilije and his Information counterpart, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, said the monthly revenue of the state government cannot offset its monthly wage bill of #7.7 billion naira, disclosing that the state had a workforce of 48,000.
They 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 and sued for the cooperation of all in handling the situation.
The State Chairman, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Martin Bolum who spoke on behalf of Labour, said the decision was one of the ways to keep the state afloat in this period of Coronavirus pandemic.
He said Delta was one of the first states to implement the new minimum wage, stressing that the present salary review was for a while.
The Head of Service, Mr. Reginald Bayoko, appealed to workers to see the development as a sacrifice by accepting the decision in good faith, affirming that any money deducted would be refunded.