By Laleye Dipo
The Niger State Government on Thursday confirmed its decision to slash the salaries of all workers including that of all political appointees, the governor and his deputy, saying its action is unavoidable.
THISDAY had reported a meeting between organised labour and officials of the government on Monday where the Accountant General of the state, Alhaji Abdullahi Saidu, informed workers that government will from November slash salaries by 50 per cent in view of shortfall in income from the Federation Account and drop in internally generated revenue (IGR).
The organised labour had rejected the plan and will meet Thursday (today) to take a decision on the next line of action.
Confirming governments’ plan to slash the salaries of workers and all political appointees, in a statement made available to newsmen and which is silent on the percentages of the deduction, the Commissioner for Information Alhaji Mohammed Sani Idris, said: “The decision is regrettable and painful, the debacle is apparently unavoidable and will very hopefully be short-lived.”
Idris blamed the action on shortfalls in revenue accruals to the state from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC), as well as IGR due to the recession the country just started edging into, pointing out that: “Unfortunately, the shortfall worsened further this month again, giving a direct drop of over N1 billion in state’s cash accrual from the federation account since September.”
According to him, the purse of the government has been further strained by the funding of the fight against banditry and other insecurity in the state.
“Combating insecurity has equally been daunting and has taken its toll on the resources of the state, as the personnel on the front line 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 of guaranteeing the safety/security of the residents at whatever cost?
“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.
“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,” Idris said, adding that government has put machinery in place to increase its IGR.
The organised labour is expected to come out with a position on the matter after its meeting of Thursday.