Yobe State Government has explained that it took the decision to reduce salary of workers at the local government areas of the state instead of downsizing.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, the State Commissioner of Information, Mallam Abdullahi Bego noted that the economic recession has left the state with no other option but to take the harsh decision.
Bego said: “Over the past many years, the state government has been very prompt – every single month – in ensuring that workers see their payment alerts without fail.
“In the recent period, however, the global economic downturn – some would call it economic recession – in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic has meant that revenue receipts up and down the levels of government are plummeting.
“These revenue shortfalls, as you all know, have begun to affect everything – from the capacity of the government to provide key social services to the people to the fare you pay at the motor park. But it is – and has always been – the basic responsibility of government to provide basic social services to the people, including water supply, medicines and drugs in hospitals, clinics, and health centres, feeding for students in schools and general support for educational development, agric input to farmers, and the roads that make commerce and commuting easier. These are facts about which we all agree.
When the economic and fiscal situation makes the delivery of these basic services difficult or hard to achieve, the government has to take every measure necessary to continue to perform its basic functions.”
He said after careful study of situation in the state and what was done in other states, a committee that was set up recommended to the state government a pegging of the minimum wage of local government employees in Yobe State to N20,160.00 across all grade levels.
He said: “So, rather than a consideration to downsize, the government opted to peg the minimum wage at N20,160.00. And it bears repeating that the recommendation upon which this decision was made was put together with the full knowledge and participation of the relevant workers’ unions.”
He noted that Governor Mai Mala Buni “is passionate about workers – and about their indispensable role in bringing about socio-economic development in the state. This is why some people have quoted him as saying that the state government would pay the N30,000 minimum wage. Well, that was absolutely true.”
He, however, added that: “But what is also true is that governance is a dynamic enterprise. The government has to respond to and address various situations affecting the public good as they occur. Governor Buni has fulfilled the promise of the minimum wage. Yobe has a record of a prompt and unfailing salary payments regime. It is the economic situation that necessitated taking the measures I had earlier outlined – and these are facts that everyone can relate to.”