The Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, said on Thursday that the monthly federal allocation to the state had been slashed by over 50 per cent as a result of the dwindling oil prices.
Amaechi, who disclosed this during his New Year message broadcast live, explained that his administration would continue to review its finances in order to cushion the negative impact the reduction had on the people.
The governor said that apart from the reduction in the state’s monthly allocation, the ceding of oil wells in Soku and Etche to the neighbouring states by the National Boundary Commission had also affected the finances of the state.
Amaechi expressed sadness that there had been no plan to return the lost oil wells to Rivers State in spite of the evidences in favour of the state. He, however, said that his administration would not relent in its campaign for the return of the oil wells.
The governor said that while his administration inherited a monthly wage bill of about N2.5bn, the Rivers State was now managing a wage bill of about N9.2bn every month.
“We inherited a wage bill of about N2.5bn but we now pay almost N9.2bn every month. We do not regret the injection of needed manpower into the system especially in the health and education sectors for the sake of the future of this state, but our monthly allocation has dropped by over 50 per cent.
“Our administration has been faced with the battle of confronting the injustices that have been visited on our people. Besides the denial of economic opportunities, we have lost many of our assets. Our oil wells in Soku and Etche have been ceded to neighbouring states by the National Boundary Commission, with no plan to return them despite numerous evidences in our favour.
“We will continue to demand for our rights as a people because that is a debt that we owe you. With oil prices crashing below budgeted levels, the pressure on our finances is very high.
“Despite these, Rivers State is one of the few states in Nigeria that have paid salaries up to December 2014. We will continue to review our finances and the options before us so as to reduce the impact of these natural and man-made pains inflicted on our people,” Amaechi said.
Stating that his administration would review some of its projects in the face of fresh financial constraints, Amaechi promised that his government would not only pursue these projects and programmes, but would document them properly for handover.
The governor said his administration had embraced transparency with audited accounts and open transactions.