Why Delta Is Opting For Staggered Salary Payment – Okeme Explains

Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –BY KOLA EKE-OGIUGO 
The Delta State Government confirmed yesterday its resort to the staggered mode of payment of public officers in the light of the persisting challenging economy.

The state’s economy has been on the downward slide in the face of the crash of crude oil price, and, of late, the sabotage of oil facilities by militants who have cut back national daily export tally by more than a quarter.

The mode envisions the settlement of public officers under the Grade Level 12 in the first tranche of payments, leaving the second tranche for the flower of its workforce – those on Grade Levels 13 and above – for subsequent payment.

Those captured in the first tranche are soon to be settled in a matter of days, while the other would be paid soon afterwards.

Confirming the development in an exclusive chat in Asaba, Comrade Mike Okeme, the Senior Special Assistant to State Governor on Labour and Industrial Relations, said that, in the face of the persisting significant dwindle in the state government’s receipts from the Federal Account (FA), the government had to streamline its expenditure to tally with its income.

The payment of public officers, he said, falls under the activities of the government that had to be affected by the new development.

Okeme said that the painful decision of the government had been brought to the attention of the leadership of organised labour movement in the public sector, which had shown great understanding at the decision of the administration he held as workers’ – friendly.

He also laid the predicate of the government’s plan on its decision to meet part of its outstanding payment obligations to staff of the Delta State University (DELSU), the leadership of which unions had begun to kick over the members unpaid entitlements.

But he stressed that the strategy of staggered payment would be a transient resort that would be jettisoned as soon as the state’s earnings from the federation account and internal sources was sufficient to simultaneously meet all of the government’s monthly obligations to its employees, in one fell swoop.

Okeme added that, the resort, in respect of which he sought public understanding, was a temporary one that would soon end.

He assured workers of the subsisting resolve of the administration to accord the payment of their salaries and other entitlements top priority, just as he said that the entitlements of retirees would enjoy no less priority attention.

Delta State, with a workforce that is said to be about 70,000 strong, has a monthly wage bill estimate at N7bn for public officers and political appointees – and also contends with a huge obligation to banks and other interests that gulps in excess of N5bn every month.

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