Bayelsa State Government has said that elected local government council chairmen and councillors currently serving in the state would be paid their severance packages at the end of their tenure in August 2022.
This revelation was made by the Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo in an address when the chairmen, commissioners and permanent secretary of the Local Government Service Commission visited him in Government House, Yenagoa.
He noted that it was the first time in the history of local government administration in the state that elected chairmen and councilors would receive their full severance entitlements upon the completion of their three-year term in office.
Ewhrudjakpo said as part of the oversight functions over the councils, the state government had, through his office, assisted the eight local government councils since inception to save funds to ensure a seamless payment of the severance allowances.
He said that none of the councils would hand over with a deficit balance, due to the financial prudence template introduced by the Prosperity Administration to manage the funds of the councils.
Ewhrudjakpo said, “The decisions we took, especially with regards to financial prudence of the local government councils, for which we were initially vilified and crucified are now yielding fruits.
“Today, we are being canonized that we have done the right thing. Right now, we are settling severance for the first time, and no local government is going with a deficit.
“In fact, Southern Ijaw Local Government, for example, has over N200 million in their savings; while Yenagoa has over N100 million in savings to hand over. Kolokuma/Opokuma has about N70 million. All the local governments have some money in their savings to hand over.
“So instead of inheriting deficits, the next administration that is coming into the local governments will inherit funds to begin with. And for the first time, the state government is going to the various local government areas to start commissioning projects completed by the local governments.”
Responding to some of the issues raised by the LGSC chairman, the deputy governor said it was quite imperative for the commission to carry out general inter-local government senior staff transfers to improve the unified local government service.
He congratulated the commission for successfully carrying out the recent senior staff promotion exercise, and urged them to take appropriate measures to stem the high level of absenteeism from work among staff in the local government councils.
Ewhrudjakpo also charged them to carry out special periodic programmes at the local government level, which are aimed at training staff on the right work ethics, financial management and procurement in the public service.
On their request for official vehicles for the chairman and commissioners of the LGSC, as well as approval for a retreat, he assured them that he would furnish Governor Douye Diri as soon they send in their written proposal and budget.
Speaking earlier, the chairman of the LGSC, Lambert Ototo, explained that the visit was to inform the deputy governor of their achievements and needs, including official vehicles and the approval of a five-day retreat.