The reduction of the wage bill of the eight Local Government Areas from N1.389 billion to N945 million in December 2017, has freed more funds for the councils, the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Local Government Administration, Dr. Agatha Goma, has stated.
The money would assist in rural and infrastructural development projects with direct impact on the people at the grassroots.
She stated this on Friday during the Inter-Ministerial Press Briefing on the 6th Anniversary of the Governor Henry Seriake Dickson’s administration.
The Commissioner said there has been a progressive reduction of the over bloated wage bill of the councils due to the sustained efforts of government to sanitise the public sector.
She said, “As at December 2015, the wage bill of the eight LGAs was one billion three hundred and eighty-nine million. This was later reduced to one billion three hundred fifteen million in April twenty-sixteen and later in July last year, the wage bill was reduced to one billion one hundred eighty-nine million and in December, it was one point one billion and currently stands at nine hundred and forty-five million.
“Prior to the inception of this administration in 2012, the Inspectorate Unit of the ministry had been docile and not functional and to correct this abnormality, the state governor ordered a series of staff verification and audit exercises”
She said “most of the LGA’s could not meet their monthly financial obligations and were frequently bailed out with augmentation from the state government and funding of infrastructure and projects at that level became a rarity.”
Goma said when Governor Dickson assumed office in 2012, the two craft centres in the state were in bad shape as they could not meet their objectives but have now been refurbished and are now come centres of excellence.
“The massive work at the centres was done by the state government in conjunction with SEEFOR. They can now properly address issues of unemployment and provide middle-level skilled manpower to support industry and government institutions.
The Commissioner stated that the craft centres, located at Sagbama, Nembe, Polaku, Ayakoro and Adagbabiri had just 300 students at inception of the government but have recorded increase of over 300%, with about 1000 students enrolling for courses such as tailoring, plumbing, hair dressing, welding, air condition repair among other, services being offered by non-Bayelsans.
Also, the Commissioner for Lands and Survey, Kurokeigha Dorgu, while giving a scorecard of his ministry, said it has successfully carried out its mandate of managing and administering land in the state and has also been involved in settling land and boundary disputes.
He listed some land acquired by government to include; the GRA in the New Yenagoa City, Airport project, 250 hectares in Ebedebiri for Cassava farm, 5 hectares for fruit market in Kpansia, 100 hectares for residential building at Agbura, Ayama and 75 hectares for cattle ranch at Okoroma among others.
While lauding the state government for establishing the Bayelsa State Geographical Information System, which facilitates the issuance of certificate of occupancy, profiling of vacant lands and houses in Yenagoa, Mr. Dorgu said a demolition squad has been set up to demolish houses built on the government’s land, urging those with befitting houses to urgently visit his ministry to regularise their document.
“The government has set up a demolition squad and we will demolish houses that have encroached on government land, starting from the Ox Bow Lake area of Yenagoa but the governor in his magnanimity has directed that those whose houses meet the standard would have to pay compensation to government.”
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