Story by Elizabeth Vincent,yenagoa
Bayelsa State Government has assured that it would kickstart the payment of wage awards to all local government employees with effect from this month (August) to cushion the excruciating effects of fuel subsidy removal on the workers.

The state Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the assurance on Monday at a meeting with local government stakeholders, including the eight Caretaker Committee chairmen, labour leaders and principal officers of the LGAs in Government House, Yenagoa.

Ewhrudjakpo,  Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr Doubara Atasi, announced that the state government in collaboration with the local government councils would also ensure the payment of gratuities to council retirees who were yet to benefit.

He informed that government had approved 30% payment of the gratuities across board for the retirees, which would also take effect from this month.

On the wage award, the Deputy Governor, said council workers on grade level one to six will now earn N20,000 as additional salary, grade level seven to ten, N30,000, while those on grade level 12 to 14 will now have N40,000 added to their salaries.

He added that government had also approved N50,000 as wage award to council employees on grade level 15 to 17, while Heads of Local Government will earn N100,000 as additional salary.

He said: While waiting for the reliefs from the Federal Government, we are proposing a wage award for local government employees. And the proposal is that, all local government workers on grade level 1 to 6 will earn N20,000 in addition to their salary.

“Those on 7 to 10 will earn additional N30000, grade 12 to 14 (N40,000), while grade level 15 to 17 will have N50000 as additional salary. The Heads of Local Government will earn additional N100000.

“The Governor has given anticipatory approval but I believe he will give the final approval this week. And will start implementing from this month of August..

“That is why I have always encouraged local government workers to be patient with us. We are very aware of your suffering and the state government will not hesitate to intervene.

“On gratuities, we have also made some proposal, which we want the local governments to support us. The proposal is that, we should pay 30% across board to all those who have retired from wherever the payment stopped to 2022 and one month in 2923.

“Our plan is for every local government retiree to get something at the end of this month (August). The Governor has already approved this. We are only going to raise a committee to supervise the payment because we still have some grey areas to address.

Senator Ewhrudjakpo, who commended local government workers and retirees for their understanding and patience, assured that the Prosperity Administration would continue to take steps to address issues concerning their welfare.

On the ongoing data capturing exercise for the computerization of staff on the Oracle Payroll System, the Deputy Governor appealed to the workers’ union at the local government level to be a little bit patient with government to test run the software and make necessary corrections before its full take-off.

Responding to questions raised by some of the stakeholders, the Bayelsa Number Two Man assured that approval would be given for the conduct of the 2023 senior staff promotion exercise due for 2023 to bring them to be at par with their state counterparts.

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