Bayelsa Govt promises to pay 4 months arrear of salaries to LG, health workers

The Bayelsa Government has reiterated its willingness to clear the arrears of four month salaries owed to local government and health workers in the state.

 The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the state government owed four month salary arrears to members of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees and the Health Workers Union of Nigeria. 

The Commissioner for Information, Mr Esueme Kikile, told NAN on Wednesday that the state government was working round the clock to pay all outstanding arrears of salaries. Kikile said that the payment was a sign of appreciation for the unions heeding the state government’s plea to shelve their planned strike in June.

 “Government wishes to restate its commitment to ensuring that local government councils fulfill its obligations to their workers without any further delay.

 “It must be noted that the present administration in the state has demonstrated its commitment to respect local government autonomy and has implemented zero deduction from local government allocations policy. “However, government regrets the inconveniences the delay in payment of salaries of the local government workers and pension for the month of May might have caused.

 “Everything is being done to ensure payment of the outstanding salaries. “It is imperative to state that government is already working round the clock to resolve the issue once and for all and ensure that there is no future recurrence,” Kikile said. He said the state government acknowledged the role of workers in the development of the state and would therefore not do anything to undermine this critical sector. 

However, Chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Mr Chubby Ben-Walson, absolved council chairmen of blame from the unpaid salaries. Ben-Walson, the Chairman of Yenagoa Local Government, attributed the inability of the local governments to meet its salary obligations to workers to the dwindling allocations to the councils from the Federation Account.

 “The situation we are faced with is a nationwide issue and is not peculiar to Bayelsa. “Allocations to the local governments have been dropping since last year and funds accruing to the councils have reached near zero allocation. “The assumption that local government chairmen refused to pay workers is false, we have cut down on our own welfare, security votes and welfare of the councillors.

 “We are aware of the social contract we have with the people at the grassroots, and we are not the cause of the problem,” Ben-Walson said. NAN reports that the two unions had scheduled to embark on strike and stage street protests on June 24.

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