From: Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The eight local government caretaker chairmen in Bayelsa State have directed the payment of primary school teachers.
This was seen as a move to avert an industrial action by the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT)
The NUT had served notice of the days warning strike to press home the demands of the payment of salaries arrears running into six months after several appeals to the council chairmen had fell on deaf ears.
Commissioner for Local Government Administration, Dr. Agatha Goma, struck an agreement with the council chairmen top pay April salaries to avert the strike.
Goma, in an interview, applauded the primary school teachers for their patience and assured them that the state government is committed to implementing all agreement reached with the Nigerian Union of Teachers.
She explained that paucity of fund due to dwindling revenue arising from economic downturn last year was responsible for the inability of Local Governments to meet salary obligation to their staff including teachers
According to her the local government share of the Paris Club refunds was deployed to the payment of salaries of primary school teachers.
Goma noted that as part of government demonstration of good faith full salary is now being paid as against half salaries paid last year even though there has been no significant improvement in the income of the councils.
“Teachers’ welfare is pivotal to Governor Seriake Dickson’s revolution in the education sector. There is no deliberate effort to undermine teachers’ welfare. The issues of half salary in 2016, delay in payment arose because of the recession. But the teachers should be assured that government is concerned about their welfare and everything is being done to find a permanent solution to this challenge,” Goma said.