By Idowu Bankole
The Niger state government has on Thursday announced reasons a slash in salaries across board in the state fingering a sharp shortfall in revenue accruing to the state.
The state government disclosed that despite the shortfall which had persisted for some time now in the state, it had continued to pay full salaries until June.
In a statement by the commissioner of information, obtained by VANGUARD news, Mohammed Idris stated that it became hard for the state government to continue with full salaries payment owing to dwindling internally generated revenue (IGR) in the state and the recession announced by the federal government.
The statement read, “In her effort to improve internal revenue generation, there is an ongoing intervention by the Niger State Government on reforming revenue processes and information technology applications in the state.”
“The moves are designed to institute improved health in the way government runs to bring desirable development to the people.”
“Further to and in line with the spirit as captured in the aforementioned, efforts are also being intensified on multiple fronts to ensure maximum collection of all revenues and blockage of all leakages.”
“These are in line with the recent Consolidated Revenue Law passed by the Niger State House of Assembly and assented by His Excellency, Governor Abu Sani Bello.”
According to Idris measures taken to ensure that revenue accrues to the state have started yielding results, but stilled worsened by the recession.
“While these efforts have begun to bear fruits, the State Government, like other states of the federation, has had shortfalls on revenue accruals to the state from Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC), as well as IGR due to recession the country just started edging into.
“Despite this situation which has been on even long before the federal government officially announced recession, Niger state government has continued to manage payment of full salaries for months except for June 2020. However, and quite unfortunately, the shortfall worsened further this month again, giving a direct drop of over N1billion (One Billion Naira) in state’s cash accrual from the federation account since September.”
“On another hand, combating insecurity has equally been daunting and has taken its toll on the resources of the state, as the personnel on the frontline of opposition to the insurgents have to be kitted well enough for the task. Can the state government avoid the task of carrying out her primary responsibility for guaranteeing the safety/security of the residents at whatever cost?”
“In consequence of ceaseless slide in revenue fortunes of the state, amidst ever-widening pressure on resources, Niger state became compelled to have a salary reduction for the month of November for entire categories of civil servants and political appointees in the state, including the state governor.”
“The move to reduce salaries of all categories of workers, given this preceding explanation, is compelled by existential developments, and whatever has been deducted from workers shall be returned to them once the situation improves, as has been experienced by local government workers in the state. Regrettable and painful, the debacle is apparently unavoidable, and will very hopefully, be short-lived.”
“It is our sincerest hope that the situation would improve soonest so the government would reimburse the workers for the deducted percentage. Government is also deeply pained by the development and regrets the difficulties it may cause.”