The State Deputy Governor, Chief Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, stated this when the National President of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Akeem Olatunji-Ambali, paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.
He said that the move was necessitated by inadequate revenue allocations from the Federal Government and the implementation of promotion arrears of council workers by the state government.
Ewhrudjakpo noted that government had adopted the policy of Joint Tax System, describing it as a unified approach of generating revenue into the coffers of both state and local government councils in the state.
“Bayelsa is one state where we don’t tamper with local government funds. As the funds come, the chairmen meet with the state at the Joint Allocation Committee and what we do is to approve the JAC figures and they go back to dispense.
“Only recently, in addition to what we are giving to the local government for the payment of primary school teachers, we have just decided to give another N252 million as support to councils,” he said.
On the minimum wage for council workers, Ewhrudjakpo said the state government in consultation with council chairmen and state NULGE leadership, had set up a committee to look into its implementation.
The deputy governor, however, urged NULGE to take the issue of reforms in the local government system seriously with a view to addressing the excesses of some council chairmen and for the overall benefit of rural dwellers.
On the appeal for the completion of NULGE state headquarters, Ewhrudjakpo promised that the government would look into their request for appropriate action.
Olatunji-Ambali described local government as the most strategic, relevant and direct system of government that must be accorded its pride of place in the country to positively impact on the masses.
He also identified insecurity in the country as a challenge that could be addressed significantly, if the local government system that interfaced directly with the traditional rulers and rural people was strengthened.