|Pastor Thomas Zidafamor|
The Head of Service was taken unaware in his office by Golden Pen Newspaper to explain to the public some of the issues in the civil service that will interest the people to know, which had generated tensions in the state at the peak of expectations by the civil servants on salaries payments and pensions, and continued verification exercises etc.
To all these, the H.O.S came out with a clear view on the issue of salaries payment, on which he remarked that the challenges that faced the state civil service on salaries were not peculiar to Bayelsa State, but national.
Rev. Zidafamor graphically posited that the Hon. Dickson led Restoration Government started with a prompt, before the end of the month salaries payment system in 2012, which continued to 2016 when the economy forced the administration to make necessary adjustments. Hear him:
"The salaries matter is not peculiar to Bayelsa but national. The enlightened ones know what led to that predicament, but several others are accusing someone somewhere, saying, someone is doing this, someone is doing that, when we know that it is the economy that led to it.
"When the present government came to power on 2012, there was no delay in salaries payment. Before even the end of the month salaries were paid...until 2016, when the fund that was coming from the federation account to the state was no longer sufficient."
He further explained that the allocated funds were not meant only for the payment of civil servants salaries or pensions, but for every other need cutting across the state.
"The allocation from the federation accounts to the state was not meant to pay salaries of civil servants and political appointees alone of their stipends and or allowances, but to meet the needs of the entire people of the state who are all entitled to benefit one way or the other; in terms of good roads, water supply, electricity etc...."
The Head of Service said it was unfair on the part of propagandists to say that the governor, Hon. Dickson or his government had done nothing, when indeed a lot has been done, he tenderly submitted .
Rev. Zidafamor used the medium to state why the civil servants verification exercise had been ongoing for long.
According to him, the state government had taken the bold initiative to know the actual figure of genuine civil servants in the state and their actualb monthly salaries, because some of the employees came through the back doors and have appointment letters, while some who claim to have aquired the necessary qualifications had their certificates printed at business centres.
" The verification has to continue because government wants to do a thorough exercise to ensure that at the end of it all, government will release a white paper. There are so many workers living outside the state, in Port Harcourt, Lagos, Abuja and so on, they don't go to work neither do they have offices, yet they receive salary alerts from banks every month...."
On infrastructural development, the Head of Service said, the governor is working tremendously, and that those criticizing him or his administration may be doing so out of ignorance. Hear this:
"Some of the people that criticize government has not visited some of the project sites, so they carry the wrong propaganda that government is not doing anything," he reiterated.
Reacting to alleged maltreatment of pensioners at verification centres in the state, Rev.Zidafamor said it was never the intention of government to make things difficult for the pensioners, during the exercise, considering their elderly status; went further to say that just as parents don't use to know what the children they sent to school did on their way or at school, so did the governor not know how those at the fields handled matters at the verification centres.
He commended the Golden Pen Newspaper for being proactive to clarification of information before going to press and urged the medium to maintain the tempo.