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Bayelsa, Delta deny owing workers

By News Express on 28/11/2017

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•Bayelsa Information Commissioner Daniel Iworiso-Markson
•Bayelsa Information Commissioner Daniel Iworiso-Markson

The Bayelsa State Government has described as erroneous the impression being peddled in public domain that it was owing workers salaries of between 10 to 16 months.

While describing “the people behind the falsehood” as faceless interests, the government said the report “which has been debunked, and indeed retracted by other national papers is still being fed on the innocent public by the VANGUARD newspaper of November 28, 2017.”

“The fact of the matter is that the Bayelsa State Government is not owing 10 to 16 months salaries as claimed in the report. All the salaries of workers in the he state civil service have been paid in 2017. There is no outstanding. Please note what was published about Bayelsa State was false. It is also unfair that no move was made by the writer to contact the media unit before such a story was published,” the Bayelsa State Government explained.

A statement by the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Information, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, described the report published by VANGUARD Newspaper as unprofessional as no effort was made to contact him or any other spokesperson of the government.

He said: “We are constrained, once again, to correct an erroneous impression being fed to the Nigeria Public by some faceless interests that the Bayelsa State Government is owing workers salaries of between 10 to 16 months. It is sad that this falsehood which has been debunked, and was indeed retracted by other national papers is still being fed on the innocent public by the VANGUARD Newspaper of November 28, 2017.

“It is important to note that the Bayelsa State Government is among the few states that have paid salaries up to date in 2017. A blanket report in the media that the state is owing imaginary 10 to 16 months salary is loudly suggestive that workers salaries are not being paid as and when due. This is untrue, misleading and unfortunate.

“As a matter of state policy, the Henry Seriake Dickson’s administration does not tamper with local government allocations. This fact must be stressed because of the falsehood being peddled in some quarters that the state is owing local government workers.

“It is unfair that the story published on the cover of the VANGUARD Newspaper of Tuesday was written without any efforts to contact the media unit of the Bayelsa State Government. A call to the office of the Commissioner for Information and related offices in Bayelsa would have prevented this misinformation being foisted on the public.

“It is public knowledge that Hon. Seriake Dickson, is waging a war against an endemic payroll fraud in the civil service in Bayelsa. Last week, the state government in a bid to ensure a holistic Implementation of the reforms introduced by Governor, withheld the salaries of 4,200 personnel suspected to be involved in the systemic fraud in the state.

“Also, intensified efforts are being made to sanitise the system that has left the eight local government areas of the state with an unimaginable size of wage bill. The motive of the reforms is to have a wage bill with only genuine workers.

“The fact of the matter is that the Bayelsa State Government is not owing 10 to 16 months salaries as claimed in the report. All the salaries of workers in the state civil service have been paid in 2017. There is no outstanding.

“However, state owes salary arrears of four and a half months from last year when the economic recession was at its peak. The government was compelled to pay half salaries at the time for six months because of the issue of paucity of funds caused by the recession. Even some of the outstanding arrears have been paid thereby reducing the figure to four and half months.

“We advise that the report is corrected as it has done some damage to the image of the state. It is in conflict with the rule of journalism to write a story about a person or an organisation without the opportunity of a response from the affected person.”

Similarly, the Delta Government faulted the listing of the state as one of those owing workers salaries.

The State Commissioner for Information, Patrick Ukah, said in a statement: “We read with shock and embarrassment the misleading front page report in the Vanguard Newspaper of Tuesday, November 28, 2017.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Delta State Government is not owing its workers. We have paid all our workers to date and we have also consistently given financial support to the Local Government Councils to enable them pay the salaries of their workers.

“We consider the report as malicious and tendentious and, therefore, demand an unreserved apology and immediate retraction of the story from The Vanguard.

“We urge journalists to always cross check their facts before rushing to the press as such false information undermines good governance.

“Despite the economic downturn Delta State Government had consistently paid its workers salaries even as we have continued to excel in infrastructure renewal, job creation and human capital development.”

Source News Express

Posted 28/11/2017 9:23:04 PM


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