Laleye Dipo in Minna
Amidst the uproar generated by the cut in the salary of workers by over 50 per cent, the Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, has announced a drastic slash in the weekly budget of the government house.
Bello said the government house would now spend N20million monthly as against the previous weekly budget of N150million.
The governor however did not give details of the slash but said it was in line with the prevailing economic situation of the state which has made the execution of capital projects and settlement of other recurrent expenditure very difficult.
Last week, when the salary for the month of June was paid to all category of workers, it was with not less than 50 per cent reduction, a development which generated outcry from mostly civil servants.
Addressing stakeholders in Kontagora, Bello asked for sacrifices from everybody in the state because the economic downturn that has hit the country was now biting harder in the state.
“Nigeria in general and Niger State in particular is facing serious economic challenges as a result of fall in oil price at the international market and the security challenges in the Niger Delta. Niger State like many other states of Nigeria depends on federal allocation, which has reduced drastically since the beginning of this administration.”
The governor said the state that was getting between N5billion and N7billion from the federation account under the last administration is now getting not more than N2.4billion, adding that with a salary bill of N2.2billion the government has had to borrow well over N3billion in the last four months to augment the salaries of workers.
The situation, Bello said, called for more stringent economic measures to be put in place if the state is to remain afloat and therefore called for more sacrifice on the part of the entire people of the state.
“These challenges call for sacrifice from all of us from me as governor to the messenger in the state. Already, this administration has reduced spending in government House from over N150 million weekly to N20 million.”
He said the government was committed to the mandate given to the administration by the over four million people in the state, adding that the obligation included but not limited to payment of salary.
“ We have to provide basic amenities in line with the cardinal priority of the administration.”
Bello disclosed that not less than 52 projects were ongoing in the state and they include the construction of roads, renovation of schools and hospitals and water projects.
Stakeholders at the meeting lauded the efforts of the administration and pledged their support to the government.