Plateau Civil Servants will likely get their salaries this week as the State goes into its third lockdown this month.
The State Governor, Simon Lalong, last Thursday pledged to continue to pay salaries and pensions “as and when due,” despite civil servants not being at work during the lockdown.
“I have directed the Commissioner of Finance to ensure that in the next few days, people start getting their (salary credit) alerts for April,” said the Governor in a broadcast.
Since global oil prices fell in the early days of COVID-19, leading to over 45% revenue cuts for Nigeria, Plateau State gets about 50% less revenue than it used to from the Federal account.
However, according to the State Commissioner of Finance, Dr. Regina Soemlat, the State has sufficient funds to pay salaries and other liabilities.
“We are downscaling our priorities and focussing on only needs that are crucial so we wouldn’t have problems paying our obligations,” she said.
Internally generated revenue, the Commissioner said has equally dropped due to general business shutdown, but a State economic team is working to innovate new ways to earn, said Regina.
“In order to ensure our economic future, I have directed the State Economic Advisory Council headed to brainstorm and come up with practical and comprehensive strategies on the sustainability and continuation of the State Economy during and after COVID-19,” Governor Lalong had said in his broadcast.
Perhaps as part of the economic strategy, the Governor, as he did during the second phase of the State lockdown, Wednesday 15th to 23rd April, is allowing farmers and agro-allied businesses to operate during the third phase of the lockdown which started Sunday midnight.
The Governor said, “Farmers, particularly in the rural areas are exempted from the restrictions, as they are required to go to their farms within their villages now that the rains have started.
“In addition to the exemption of essential workers earlier announced, producers of food such as bread, water and beverages are also exempted.”