There are indications that local government council workers in Bayelsa State who are owed over 10 months’ salaries may not receive their wages very soon.
It was gathered on Tuesday that the incumbent chairmen of the eight local government councils may not be able to access the N1.24billion bailout fund given to the state government by the Federal Government.
Sources revealed that Governor Seriake Dickson was not disposed to releasing the fund to them in the next few weeks.
The deputy governor of the state, John Jonah, confirmed Bayelsa’s receipt of the N1.24b bailout fund at the government’s income and expenditure briefing for the month of January on March 24.
He had stated that the money would be used to clear the backlog of salaries owed by the councils.
Jonah said that the fund was given to Bayelsa based on the request of the local councils, explaining that it was for this reason all councils would not receive the same amount of money.
He further explained that the bailout was not a gift as the Federal Government was not a Father Christmas, and added that the benefiting councils would pay back according to the proportion they would each receive.
“Some councils are owing more than others, so they will get more than what others will get. Councils that will get twice more than others will pay back twice more than what others will pay,” he had said.
It was however learnt that Dickson was not in a hurry to approve the N1.24b bailout fund for the current council chairmen.
He is said to have hinged his reason on the fact that the chairmen were exiting from office as their three-year tenure would end officially on April 7, 2016.
A source in the treasury department who did not want to be named because she was not authorised to speak on the issue revealed that the governor was also waiting for the outcome of the ongoing staff verification exercise at the councils to determine genuine workers at the third-tier of government.
She said: “His Excellency has also factored into consideration the fact that he will soon appoint caretaker committee chairmen for the councils.
“It is therefore likely that these incoming caretaker chairmen will be the ones to pay the council workers their salary arrears. So, why should he be in a haste to release the bailout to the current chairmen?
“You know, the state government had a rough time trying to secure this bailout from the Federal Government. Therefore the governor would like to ensure judicious use of the fund.”