Sylvester Idowu in Warri
Delta State Government on Tuesday said the state Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has 2,203 political aides who receive N382 million as salary monthly.
The state Commissioner for Finance, Olorogun David Edevbie, made the disclosure in an effort to quell widespread insinuation that political appointees were more than civil servants in the state.
Speaking at a press briefing for the break-down of the 2018 budget proposal which was recently sent to the state House of Assembly by the governor,Â Edevbie said the state government has 2, 203 political appointees with the sum of N382 million as salary while the state has 45, 000 civil servants that gulps N4.5 billion salary monthly.
According to him, â€œI find it funny when some persons would say political appointees are more than civil servants in the state. We are running an open-door policy; the state has 2, 203 political appointees and 45, 000 civil servants, the number of public servants are not included.â€
The commissioner who briefed journalists with his Information and Economic Planning counterparts, Mr Patrick Ukah and Dr. Kingsley Emu respectively, urged Deltans to always verify their information.
On the debt profile of the state government, Edevbie said: â€œAbout N100 billion are owed contractors. Although no one is happy about the situation, Okowa has approved that contractors, especially those whose money are not much, should be paid.â€
He also answered questions concerning contractors whose jobs were terminated because of their incompetence, stating that â€œwe are aware that itÂ is not enough to determine a contract and re-award same to a more competent contractor; such contractor deserves to be prosecuted and blacklisted, but you know in Nigeria, people will always intervene when such happens; we must give the governorâ€™s administration credit for insisting that the right thing should be done. If you are not competent as a contractor, the contract will be given to a more competent one and you know it takes a lot for decisions for such to be taken, this is my own personal opinion.â€
On the issue of the Asaba/Okpanam road, Edevbie disclosed that the contract passed through due process and it was not done to favour certain individuals, disclosing that the contractor handling the projectÂ has been mobilised to go back to site.
â€œI am very sure that the contractor in charge of the Asaba/Okpanam road project is not fronting for government, the job was awarded because the company has executed similar projects in other parts of the country. A few days ago, we mobilised him to go back to site and I am very confident that in the next few days, work will recommence on the project,â€ he said.