From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
There is anxiety in Bayelsa as Governor Henry Seriake Dickson has given his nod for the commencement of a comprehensive reform in Bayelsa state public sector.
Dickson who has been battling with a bloated wage bill of civil servants since assumption of office in 2012 had set up three different committees to investigate the apparent rot in the public sector and make appropriate recommendations.
The committees which include Tertiary Education Advisory Committee, Committee on Policy on Public Primary and Secondary School Funding and Staffing and the Local Government Policy Reforms Committee have presented their reports to the Governor and he has decided to implement the recommendations of the committee.
According to investigations Dickson has vowed that he would not leave his successor with the problem of bloated wage bill in the civil service and the local government councils.
Dickson in an interview while lamenting the rot in the public sector and the conspiracy to sustain the fraudulent wage bill said he is determined to weed out fraudulent Bayelsans from the system
‘‘When we came on board wage bill was about 6bn. Now it is 3.9 bn. We have reduced it but we still have a long way to go. I would try and deal with the problem as much as I can as I would not want to leave it for whoever would be next Governor. We have seen that this state is still losing close to a billion naira to wage bill fraud. A number of them are working in the local government, in the state civil service, in federal agencies, Federal Medical Centre, Niger Delta University, and Federal University Otuoke. It is a culture that we have tolerated for so long. When we tried to correct it, it is as if we are doing something bad. They are fighting back. Normally they would shout and run to the media. Basically what I want to do is to revive the unpaid salary’s account and so all those people that we have identified, we would stop their salaries and government would pay it into the unpaid salaries account and wait for them to be cleared. Some of them go to Port Harcourt to falsify their pay records before the creation of the state. A number of them ought to have retired’’