Nigeria

Bayelsa govt debunks NLC claims on workers salaries

The Bayelsa State Government has lambasted the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) over its claims that Bayelsa State was one of the states that did not utilise the bailout fund to pay workers salaries.

The state government, in a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Jonathan Obuebite, urged the NLC to get its facts right and stop lying to heat up the Bayelsa polity.

The NLC publication had reportedly listed Bayelsa State as owning its workers five months salaries.

Obuebite, in the statement to officially to react to allegation, said it was worth noting that Bayelsa State did not apply for or receive salary bailout to states because when states were applying for salary bailouts, Bayelsa State was not owing her workers because Governor Henry Seriake Dickson had saved some funds for the rainy days.

According to him it was the local governments councils that applied for N1.2 billion for salaries of local government workers, adding that it had been the policy of the Seriake Dickson’s administration that local government council funds should not be touched by state government and he has not derailed from it.

Said he, “For the first four years of Dickson’s administration between 2012 and 2016, no worker was ever owed salaries, not until 2016 when the allocation from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC, started experiencing a steady decline and for the fact that the main source of revenue for the State has always come from federal allocations. And, this was not peculiar with Bayelsa state alone, as most States suffered similar fate.

“For instance, the net allocation to the state in February, March, April and May 2016 were N2.98 billion, N2.16 billion, N2.42 billion and N3.45 billion respectively. These when matched against a monthly wage bill of over N4 billion, caused the inability of the state to meet its salary obligations.

We must note that these net allocations was not meant for salary payment alone but also to meet all other state obligations, including local loans servicing, running of all MDAs and government, security expenses, education, health infrastructural development etc. Inevitably, salaries were owed in 2016. However, throughout 2017, the state has not owed any month.”

Obuebite, who noted that the state government was still gradually defraying the arrears of salaries owed in 2016, also said it had kept faith with all its salary obligations for the year 2017, as workers at the state level have all been paid up to date from January to August, 2017.

He continued, “As a responsive and responsible Government, when the Paris/London Club refunds were received in December 2016 and June 2017, it met with the leadership of organised labour in the State, (NLC, TUC, NUT, etc) on how the funds were to be applied.

“The Government and the organised labour agreed that, for the first receipt two months arrears be paid and for the second tranche one and a half month salaries arrears be paid also and this decision was implemented in December 2016 and July 2017 respectively, leaving an outstanding balance of four and a half months, knowing that the Paris Club refunds was not for state workers only as the whole citizenry of Bayelsa needs to benefit.”

Get more stories like this on Twitter and Telegram

Recommended Stories