The eight local government chairmen in Bayelsa state have thrown their weight behind the ongoing civil service reforms embarked upon by the administration of Governor Seriake Dickson, declaring that the reform has saved the local councils over a N100million in salaries and reduction of staff strength.
The local government chairmen, under the aegis of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) led by Hon. Joseph Fafi, while giving update on the ongoing reform at the local government council said the reform has saved the council authorities monies to be used for prompt salary payment to genuine workers and support council contribution into the state scholarship scheme, the education trust fund and the training of medical officers for the councils.
The council chairmen, Hon.Wisdom Fafi (Kolokuma/Opokuma), Hon Isiah Victor (Brass), Hon Magbesa Micheal (Sagbama), Hon. Tolu Amatu (Ekeremor), Mrs. Naomi Goli(Ogbia), Hon Biefie Inemo(Nembe) and Hon Nigeria Kia (Southern Ijaw).
The caretaker chairman of the Yenagoa council, Hon Ofoji Okpoku was absent from the briefing which was organised by the state ministry of information and orientation led by commissioner Daniel Markson-Iworiso but his account in the council was read by the state commissioner for local government, Mrs. Agatha Gonna.
Hon. Wisdom Fafi said before now, the local government administration in the state was declared to have collapsed due to the inability to pay salaries and the huge wage bill of over bloated workforce, ” but the local government council administration has bounced back due to the ongoing reforms at the State and local government ”
Fafi said though his administration of the Kolokuma/Opokuna met a N59million salary wage bill of teachers and a N50million wage bill of council workers, “with the reform, the wage bill of teachers dropped to N37million and workers wage bill stands at N40million”
Also, in his submission, the caretaker chairman of Sagbama council area, Hon. Micheal Magbisa noted that his administration met over 1,125 council workers with salary wage of over N69million and has dropped to N56million with 922 workers after the verification exercise.
Magbisa also pointed out that the council administration inherited over 1,517 teachers with wage of over N73million and had dropped to 1,117 staff.
Others such as Ogbia local council also reportedly inherited wage bill of workers with salaries which stood at N83million but was reduced to N65 million. Also inherited was a teachers ‘bill of N124 million and has since been reduced to N63 million.
Brass local government chairman, Hon. Victor Isiah reported that with an inherited N70million wage bill of workers, it has been reduced to N64 million. A teachers’ wage bill of N49 million has been reduced to N37million.
Also speaking after reading out the Yenagoa report on the reform, the state commissioner for local government, Mrs. Aghata Goma, noted that the reform at the local government level has weeded out under age persons, dead persons and absentee workers from the council wage bill.,” people are not just removed but invited to prove why they are on the local government council payroll. ”