The Bayelsa State government said yesterday it is not owing its workers five months salaries contrary to the claim by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
In a statement yesterday, Comisioner for Information Jonathan Obiebute said it is worth noting that Bayelsa state did not apply for or receive salary bailout to states. “Bayelsa state was not owing workers because the governor saved some funds for the rainy day.”
According to him, It was the local government councils that applied for N1.2 billion for salaries of local government workers adding that It had been the policy of the Dickson’s administration that local government council funds should not be touched by state government.
Obuebite recalled that in the first four years of the Dickson’s administration between 2012 and 2016, no worker was owed salaries, until 2016 when the allocation from the Federation Account started experiencing a steady decline. He said most states suffered similar fate.
Explaining how it happened, Obuebute said: “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 allocation 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.”
The commissioner said that while the state was gradually defraying the arrears of salaries owed in 2016, it had kept faith with all its salary obligations for 2017, “as workers at the state level have all been paid up to date from January to August, 2017.”