Trouble is looming in four local government areas in Bayelsa State over the inability of the council to pay the salaries of its workers.
The affected local government areas – Ogbia, Nembe, Sagbama and Ekeremor – are said to be owning three months salaries.
The other four local government areas namely Kolokuma/Opokuma, Yenagoa, Southern Ijaw and Brass are said to be struggling but have a financial edge due to the internally generated revenue.
Bloated wage bills in the troubled local government councils and the various debts they are servicing have eaten up their finances such that they cannot meet the financial obligations to their workers.
The state government had recently taken over the payment of teachers salaries in the Ogbia Local Government Area to prevent industrial action by the teachers.
According to investigations, the council chairmen of the affected local government councils have made passionate appeals to the state government to come to their aid.
The financial situation in the third tier of government is said to be giving the Governor Douye Diri led government sleepless nights as it is also in a bad financial situation to bail them out of their financial woes.
The Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, had recently in a meeting with the council chairmen lamented the situation due to the fact that the state government is seeking ways to help the four local government council pay their workers for June.
‘I’m the one interacting with the local government chairmen. So, I know what they are passing through as I talk to you, Ogbia, Nembe, Sagbama and Ekeremor are all negative.
‘In fact, we are trying to look for somewhere to enable them to get funds to pay their salaries and other statutory obligations. Right now, part of the councils’ burden is the car loan they collected for their present councillors,’ he said.
Sources said part of the problem is also the 32 Rural Development Authorities (RDAs) where workers are being paid with funds that could have been used to shore up finances of the local government councils.
Reports had been rife that the state government was planning to ditch the RDAs but the backlash such a move could generate made the government put such plans on hold.