About 500 revenue-generating vendors, including drivers, cleaners and other auxiliary workers, have lost their jobs with the Kano State Internal Revenue Service (KIRS) since the beginning of the lockdown occasioned by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
KIRS also suspended 60 revenue consulting firms for alleged illegal collection of revenue on behalf of the government.
The Guardian obtained a copy of a memo signed by an employee of KIRS, Sani Yola, on behalf of the acting chairman, Bala Inuwa.
The formal disengagement of drivers and cleaners on temporary appointment took effect from July 1, 2020.
The memo dated June 26, 2020, advised the sacked workers to avail themselves of the services of Transure Consult Limited, an outsourcing firm, for more opportunities.
One of the sacked workers, who preferred anonymity, regretted the decision of the management at a time thousands of Nigerians languish in abject poverty due to unemployment.
He disclosed that although the majority of the sacked workers were not issued an employment letter or contract agreement at the point of engagement, he considered their dismissal as the height of cruelty.
When contacted, Inuwa disclosed that the action became necessary due to financial constraints.
Insisting that only the services of 308 revenue collectors and 40 drivers were temporarily terminated, the acting chairman lamented the effect of economic strain on the state’s revenue, which he attributed to COVID-19.
The acting chairman also accused the 60 consulting firms he inherited from his predecessor of operating illegally in the state, as their contract had expired since 2018.
Inuwa insisted that their sack was to stop them from shortchanging government in the name of statutory percentage deduction, stressing that Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR) of Kano was largely hit by the lockdown, as the service barely generated N600 million monthly against the usual N2 billion.
“It is true we temporarily disengaged our contract staff as well as drivers and cleaners. But the number is not 500. The affected workers are 308 and drivers are 40. I don’t have the number of cleaners here. We did that bearing in mind the state of our income and the IGR we are generating, which is drastically on the steady fall in the last three months,” he said.
Meanwhile, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje is set to present the adjusted 2020 appropriation to the House of Assembly for approval.
Ganduje had earlier revealed moves to reduce the 2020 appropriation by 30 per cent due to the economic crisis necessitated by COVID-19.
In November 2019, the governor had presented ‘Budget of Sustainable Development’ of over N197.6 billion before the state legislators, which the legislators later increased to N206.7 billion.
In the reviewed budget, Ganduje is to present N138,279,140,661 with N78.8 billion (57 per cent) recurrent expenditure and N54.9 billion (43 per cent) capital expenditure.
According to a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the Governor, Abba Anwar, the adjusted budget indicated that the IGR, which was originally benchmarked at N46 billion, is reduced to N24 billion, about N22 billion downwards.