By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Governor, Mr Seriake Dickson, said Wednesday that the ongoing reforms in the state’s public sector was yielding positive results.
He said so far, his administration was recovering about N2.2 billion annually, through the exercise which he said would be continuous.
Dickson spoke during a meeting with Labour leaders, members of the Post Primary Schools Board and the Association of All Nigerian Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS), in Yenagoa.
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, stated that the amount was saved from the ongoing verification exercise in the mainstream civil service and that of the post primary schools in the state.
The governor said that the government was currently recovering N53 million per month from the mainstream civil service and N134 million from discrepancies of salaries (grade levels and steps) of secondary school teachers and principals.
He commended the labour unions for supporting the reforms designed to stop the endemic payroll fraud in the public service, stressing that the money saved from the exercise would be committed to the development of the education sector.
He also lauded the workers verification committee, led by Dr. Josephine Igodo, for its commitment and diligence.
Dickson, who vowed to ensure a holistic implementation of the civil service rules, directed the immediate identification and retirement of those above the statutory retirement age.
He also approved the payment of the arrears of N18, 000 minimum wage owed secondary teachers and directed the release of N50 million monthly with effect from April for that purpose.
“I will implement the civil service rules to the letter. All those who are beyond the statutory age of retirement in the service should be identified and retired.
“The labour leaders generally have been supportive in these reforms and we have saved this state a lot of money. And I know that by the time we conclude this exercise we will save more than this amount.
“This money will enable me employ more teachers if we want to employ more. All the leakages that were there before have been blocked so that we can serve the people better.
“My predecessor approved the N18, 000 minimum wage and we inherited the arrears. And if we have paid the mainstream civil servants, we must pay the teachers with effect from this month because government is a continuum. Let us make a deposit of N50 million.”
The Governor noted that teachers whose salaries were being withheld would be paid into a special account known as, Unpaid Salaries Account pending when they have been duly verified.