ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
Workers in the employ of the local government system in Bayelsa State will soon heave a sigh of relief as the eight councils in the state have begun the modalities to pay the new minimum wage and salary arrears owed employees.
The workers, including primary school teachers, non-academic staff and health personnel, will also be paid their salary arrears from 2016 on monthly installments with effect from June (this month).
Those were part of resolutions taken at the end of an enlarged stakeholders’ meeting involving chairmen and principal officers of councils, labour union leaders, and some top government officials.
The meeting was presided over by Deputy Governor Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo in Government House, Yenagoa.
It was also resolved at the meeting which lasted for about three hours that N5 million should be set aside from the monthly statutory allocation of each local government for the payment of the salary arrears.
Declaring the meeting open, Ewhrudjakpo restated the Douye Diri administration’s determination to reposition the state local government system for effective service delivery at the grassroots level.
A statement released on Monday by the Senior Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor, Mr Doubara Atasi, noted the stakeholders also resolved that the 2022 senior and junior staff promotions should be conducted without any further delay.
To this end, the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC), and the various Junior Staff Management Committees (JSMC) were directed to immediately commence the 2022 staff promotion exercise for all workers that were due for promotion.
Furthermore, it was agreed in principle that the full computerisation of the councils’ payrolls should begin, as a step in the right direction to sanitize the system and check sharp practices within the system.
On the implementation of the new minimum wage for councils, it was resolved that the report from the committee on the new salary should be thoroughly looked into with a view to working out the necessary modalities for commencement of implementation as soon as possible.
Presenting the report of the Committee on Local Governments Implementation of Minimum Wage Projection, the Technical Adviser to the Governor on Treasury and Accounts, Mr. Timipre Seipulu, said that the aggregate monthly wage bill of the councils would rise to about N1.2bn once the new wage is implemented.
He said the figure represented more than 76 per cent of the average federal allocations that came into the coffers of the eight councils in the state for the first three months of this year (January-March, 2022).
Speaking on behalf of the council chairmen, the Chairman of Ekeremor LGA, Dr. Perekeme Bertola, gave the assurance that the eight councils would take every necessary step to ensure the full implementation of the resolutions.
According to Bertola, under the able leadership and supervision of the Deputy Governor, council chairmen will work hard to address some of the challenges affecting workers at the third tier of government before they bow out in August this year.