Kogi State Government has advised workers to brace up for tough times ahead as it commenced the payment of salaries for the month of March.
Asiwaju Asiru Idris, Commissioner of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning made the disclosure while speaking with newsmen in Lokoja, Tuesday, saying in spite of the shortfall in monthly allocation to the state, Government has demonstrated her commitment to workers’ wages.
Idris said the shortfall was occasioned by the Covid-19 scourge presently ravaging the world, stating that the pandemic alongside austerity measures owing to the fall in oil prices, call for retrospection amongst the citizens.
While observing that oil, which is the nation’s mainstay currently sells for 20 dollars in the global market, the Finance Commissioner expressed fears of economically gloomy months ahead.
He explained that as from the 1st of April, Saudi Arabia which is an oil producing competitor with Nigeria will sell Arab light at $10.25 per barrel discount to Dated Brent.
Similarly, he expressed more worries that Kuwait dropped $7 of its prices to NW Europe ;Iraq dropped $4 of its price to Europe and Iran dropped $6 of its price for April Cargoes to Europe. It means that tougher times lay ahead for the economy.
In his words, ” The shock has amplified the epic battle between Russia and Saudi Arabia. First, Russia refused to cut production despite the obvious need for less supply. That refusal is driven by its desire to drown high-cost US producers in a sea of cheap crude in hopes of recapturing market share.
”Saudi Arabia responded by threatening to ramp up production and slashing prices further still. That caused an historic collapse in oil prices — exactly the opposite of what was needed to stabilize the shaken market” , he said.
On what his advice is to the citizens, particularly workers in this period of austerity, Idris urged them to invest wisely, particularly on issues of education, health and feeding, advising against embarking on gigantic projects that do not have direct bearing on the lives of their people.
He further advised them to apply for NIRSAL SME Loan of N50billion, a stimulus the CBN packaged to assist the people in the face of the “threatening global economic uncertainty”.