———-By Shedrack Onitsha, ———————
Delta Youth Parliament (DYP) has described the reported spending of N382million as a monthly wage bill by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on his 2,203 Political Aides; as not only humongous, but insensitive to the plight of Deltans.
The group in a press statement stated that they received the news with rude shock that the government that pride itself as being prudent can engage 2,203 political appointee at a time many government are cutting down cost following economic crisis in the country.
The statement which was signed by its President and Publicity Secretary, Comrade Wilson Okorugbo and Comrade Oscar Wiliki noted that with the revelation from Commissioner for Finance, it’s clear that Governor Okowa continued with wastefulness that characterized the over 18years PDP misrule in the state.
The group added that; “the same government that sacked about 3,000 graduates employed by his predecessor for paucity of fund, could turn around to engage 2,203 and spending a whopping N382m as monthly salary for political reasons; is not only indiscreet, but reckless.
“It’s unthinkable that a governor at a time when the country was in recession could contemplates appointing about 89 aides per a local government, which translates to about nine persons per a Ward for political gain, this presents a gloomy picture of Delta state.
“Governor Okowa by this singular action has set a new record of profligacy in governance and this has re-echoed our belief that Deltans, particularly the youths, should as matter of necessity look beyond PDP come 2019.”
The Delta State Commissioner for Finance, Olorogun David Edevbie at a press briefing on the break-down of the 2018 budget proposal, while debunking claims that political appointees are more than civil servants in the state, said the Delta State Government has 2, 203 political appointees which it pays N382 million as salary monthly.
Edevbie stated further that the state has 45, 000 civil servants that gulps N4.5 billion monthly as salary, against the earlier claims in government circles that Delta has 68,000 work force with over N7.5 billion as monthly wage bill.
According to him; “I find it funny when some persons say that political appointees are more than civil servants in the state, we are running an open-door policy, the state has 2, 203 political appointees and 45, 000 civil servants, the number of public servants are not included,” the Commissioner said.
The Commissioner who briefed the press with his Information, and Economic Planning counterparts, Mr Patrick Ukah and Dr Kingsley Emu respectively, urged Deltans to always verify their information.
On the debt profile of the Delta State Government, Olorogun Edevbie said, “about N100 billion are owed contractors, though, no one is happy about the situation, His Excellency, Dr Okowa has approved that contractors, especially, those whose money are not much should be paid.”
Olorogun Edevbie at the briefing threw light on the Paris Club refund received by the Delta State government saying, “We received N33.5 Billion being the total amount refunded, N7 Billion of that sum belong to the local government councils which we gave to them, N13 Billion was spent on capital projects while N12.3 Billion was spend on salaries and pensions.”
DYP also picked hole on the government disbursement of the Paris Club refund, reiterating their resolve that the Okowa led government is inconsiderate to the pains of Deltans, noted that a government that received N33.5b as Paris Club refund, has no business owning local government workers, teachers and pensioners.
According to the group, “Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state on assumption of office sourced for money and cleared the local government workers and primary school teachers 8 months backlog of salaries.
“In Delta we have a governor who got so much, yet could not spare about N13billion out of the N33.5b it got to ensure that the needless deaths of local government works and primary school teachers as a result of none payment of their over 10 months salary is halted.
“We challenge the Governor Okowa to as a matter of morality, name the capital projects which he allegedly spent N13b Paris Club refund on so that Deltans can verify,” the statement added.