From: Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Government, on Sunday, faulted claims by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) that the state is one the worst states with backlog of salaries unpaid.
President of the NLC, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, had listed Bayelsa State as one of the states that is yet to offset several months of salaries.
However, in a statement by Bayelsa State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, made available to the press, in Yenagoa, he debunked the labour leader’s assertion which he described as ‘misleading and smacks of mischief’.
According to him, “Ayuba’s claims were unfounded and meant to discredit the state government”.
Iworiso- Markson noted that the state government had been most concerned and had over time, taken payment of staff seriously and did not owe the civil servants to date.
He explained that Bayelsa State Government, contrary to the report, remained one of the least indebted states in terms of salary arrears to its workers in the country.
While noting that the Dickson-led Restoration Government had always fulfilled its salary obligations until recently, occasioned by the free fall in the state’s monthly allocation from the Federal Government he disclosed that the government had to borrow a number of times to make up for the shortfall to ensure that salaries were paid.
He further explained that while borrowing to pay salaries was not sustainable, the government decided to look inwards by taking steps to strengthen the Internal Revenue Board to improve on the state’s Internally Generated Revenue profile.
“As at now, the government does not owe salaries of its workers in the civil service as we have kept faith with payment since beginning of the year till date” he stated.
Iworiso- Markson said the situation was a national challenge as the Federal Government was also finding it difficult to meet its salary obligation to its workforce.