Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Government has concluded plans to carry out verification of pensioners in their respective communities to checkmate pension-related payroll fraud in the state.
Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, in continuation of the town hall meeting on the on-going public service reforms at Kaiama, headquarters of the Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area, put the current wage bill of retirees in the state at over N500 million monthly.
According to him, Governor Seriake Dickson would soon inaugurate the various committees that would visit all communities to physically verify the pensioners as part of efforts to block leakages in the public service.
Iworiso-Markson who appreciated the chiefs and people of the area for their show of support to the reform programme, reassured genuine workers and pensioners not to entertain fears as the process would place government in a vantage position to effectively handle their welfare.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Local Government Administration, Hon. Agatha Goma, said that the government had been able to reduce the total wage bill of the councils from N1.3 billion to N950 million because as a fallout of the painstaking implementation of the reforms.
In their separate remarks, the member representing Yenagoa/Kolokuma/Opokuma Constituency, Hon. Douye Diri, and the Chief Whip, state House of Assembly, Hon Tonye Emmanuel Isenah cited the numerous appointments and projects as reason, people of the area would continue to rally round the Dickson administration.
Speaking on behalf of traditional rulers in the area, The Ibedaowei of Opokuma Clan, King Okpoitari Diongoli endorsed the reforms, describing the policy as well-intentioned.
King Diongoli who lauded the governor for initiating various scholarship schemes which benefited sons and daughters from the area, however urged government to use the appropriate offices in driving the reform agenda.