From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
BAYELSA State Government yesterday held a four hours crucial meeting with labour unions to douse tension over unpaid salary of civil servants in the state.
Security operatives had uncovered plot by a section of labour unions in the state to stage violent protest over unpaid salary and the refusal of commercial banks to rescheduled repayment of loans of civil servants.
Investigations indicated that a last ditch effort to prevent a lock down of the state was initiated by the Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah who invited representatives of labour unions to a meeting.
Jonah headed the government delegation which also had the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Chief Serena Dokubo-Spiff, the Head of Service, Dr. Peter Singabele and the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Jonathan Obuebite as well as the Special Adviser on Treasury Accounts, Mr. Timipre Seipolu.
Deliberations at the meeting touched on the issue of verification of civil servants and local government staff; salary arrears; repayment of loans dto commercial banks; Niger Delta University (NDU) and strategies to shore up the Internal Generated Revenue (IGR).
The deputy governor expressed the pains the state government was going through as it grappled with the dwindling revenue from the Federation account and its inability to pay civil servants salary for the first time since the administration assumed office in 2012.
According to him, the government had to commence verification exercise to weed out ghost workers which had made the state monthly bill to stand at N4 billion.
He said the government cannot borrow from banks to pay salary as it finances did not support such moves.
On their part, the labour union representatives, led by the state chapter chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr. John Ndiomu and his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart, Mr. Tare Donili lamented the suffering civil servants were going through in the state.
While noting that it would be a difficult task to explain to civil servants to exercise patience as many have reached their limits, the duo assured that the unions would continue to engage government as it explored ways to resolve the financial problem the state found itself
I’ll support Buhari’s policies, if… –Wike
From Tony John, Port Harcourt
RIVERS State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has declared that he will support policies of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration that are not anti-Rivers people.
Wike stated this yesterday when he granted audience to the Local Study Group from the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, who visited him at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
The governor said his primary focus was to work for the well being of Rivers people and he would not use his office for unnecessary politicking, pointing out that good policies were beyond party affiliation.
“I will support any policy of the Federal Government that will enhance the living standard of the people of Rivers State. It does not matter who initiated such policy as long as it favours our people.”
Speaking further, Wike urged the Federal Government to find ways to implement the recommendations of different NIPSS study teams, especially as they related to poverty alleviation He said the state government would support the NIPSS study team in carrying out their research into poverty alleviation in the state.
Earlier, Director of Studies and leader of delegation of the Study Group of NIPSS, Prof. Celestine Oyom Bassey, said the team was in the state to carry out an assessment of the impact of poverty alleviation programmes in the state.
The team later held an interactive session with top officials of the government.