Kebbi State Government, says the payment of March salary and pension to workers will not suffer in spite of the global economic downturn arising from the coronavirus pandemic.
Governor Atiku Bagudu gave this assurance at an emergency stakeholders meeting to chart the best course of action for the financial future of the state in Birnin Kebbi.
Bagudu, however, informed the stakeholders to advance options on the uncertainty in the payment of salary in subsequent months if federation allocation fall below the salary bill of the state which currently stood at One Point Ninety-Five Billion Naira monthly.
The Governor was optimistic that the government would settle all liabilities of serving and retired civil servants as he has promised.
Bagudu then informed the forum that the Coronavirus pandemic has hit hard on the economy of the world including Nigeria which made it impossible to market her crude oil.
The governor, therefore, announced that an advisory committee of experts and professionals would be constituted to offer suggestions on how Kebbi state could manage its affairs and offset its obligations to the people under the present paucity of resources globally and nationwide.
He made it clear that the situation has become worrisome because the state relied heavily on federation allocation without a major source of internally generated revenue.
However, governor Bagudu advised the people of the state to bear in mind that the Covid-19 pandemic was a reality which made it obligatory to observe strict hygiene practices to prevent affliction and its spread to the state.
He, therefore, vowed that the wellbeing of the people of the state remained paramount in the policy thrust of his administration.
Earlier speaking the Secretary to the State Government Alhaji Babale Umar Yauri explained that the emergency meeting was convened to discuss issues of an economic downturn in the world with its effect on Nigeria and Kebbi state, also to examined the current health matters relating to Corona Virus pandemic and strategies to safeguard its spread to Kebbi state among other things.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, Hajiya Aishatu Usman reviewed the finances of the state, saying that money accruing to Kebbi have been on the shortfall.
She added that the state was yet to receive its federation allocation for March as no disbursement has been made nationwide.
The Auditor-General of the State, Alhaji Faruq Makera made a comparative analysis of Kebbi revenue earnings and commended Governor Atiku Bagudu of striving to meet the financial obligation of the people of the state in spite of glaring economic challenges.
The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Alhaji Hassan Muhammad Shalla expressed fears about possible deficit in the statutory financial obligation of local government councils as a result of impending global economic crisis brought about by Covid-19 pandemic.
The Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Muhammad Iliyasu Bashar advocated for the reintroduction of Personal Tax ( Haraji) and Cattle Tax (Jangali) in the state to facilitate societal development.
Meanwhile, the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Muhammad Mera in his owen opinion said people have to make sacrifices to give room for tackling emergency cases.
He said government must look inwards even if it means suspending salary of workers to attend to pressing emergency matters to safe the people.
While the Speaker, Kebbi State House of Assembly, Alhaji Samaila Abdulmumin Kamba averred that the legislature would remain proactive in upholding the interest and wellbeing of the people of the state.
He said the legislature would be ready for any bill from the executive for adjustment of the state budget.
In his contribution, a Permanent Secretary and Chief Medical Director, Sir Yahaya Specialist Hospital Birnin Kebbi, Dr. Aminu Haliru Bunza, advised the government to order the immediate closure of all Islamiyya and Qur’anic schools (Almajiri schools) as a precautionary measure against Coronavirus infection.
Adding that such schools should be temporarily closed similar to the closure of primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in the state.