By Egufe YafugborhiGOVERNOR Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, has said the impact of the renewed destruction of oil assets in the state producing environment has gone so bad that the state is now unable to pay salaries regularly anymore.
The governor, yesterday at the Government Office Annex, Warri, where he convened a stakeholders meeting on, “Creating A Peaceful Atmosphere for the Development of Delta State and the Niger Delta Region,” said: “The larger Nigerian government has been in financial crisis over dwindling oil prices. Increased production would have helped cushion the impact but instead we are faced with destruction of oil assets. “Dealing with dwindling oil prices and destruction of oil assets, we are now producing just half of our quota. And we are all really worried because of the greater effect is on Delta State. Before now we receive up to N20 billion monthly, but what we have now is so low. Last time we got N3.4 billion. Last month what we received has dropped to N3 billion. We now get 1/7th of what we use to have.” The governor said, going by the current financial position, the state was no longer in a position to pay salaries regularly just as Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, has also nosedived. “We met a wage bill of N7.4 billion. Our workforce has been unchanged. With biometrics and rationalization, we trimmed that to about N6.8 billion. With the situation, we have in our hands, we are not in position to pay workers regularly anymore. “If we produce our normal volumes, we won’t have it this bad. We have had to reduce support to the councils. And apart from poor income from Federation Account, IGR has also gone down because money is not circulating. “I do know that we were receiving reasonable Pay As You Earn, PAYE of up to N1.5bn and N1.6bn monthly. That has gone down. We should realise there’s a challenge. Political office holders, traditional rulers should build peace. Delta State has been on the news for the wrong reasons and that’s not where we want to be,” Okowa added.
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