Bayelsa govt saves N669.3m from teachers’ verification

The Bayelsa State Post-Primary School Board has said that, through the verification carried out in secondary schools in the state, the board will now gross a total savings of N55.7m monthly, amounting to N669.3m per annum.

The Executive Chairman of the board, Dr Blessing Ikuru, made the disclosure in Yenagoa on Thursday during the meeting with zonal directors, principals, leadership of the major trade unions that operate in the secondary school system.

Ikuru said that when she assumed office in April 2018, she was specifically instructed by Governor Seriake Dickson to ensure that the wage bill of the board was audited by checking all financial books and records.

She said the board was also mandated to scrutinise and verify discrepancies that existed in terms of indiscriminate award of salary grade levels and steps in the payment vouchers, as well as nominal rolls of the PPSB.

She said the board constituted two committees: the Salary Grade levels and Steps Regularisation Committee and the Over-aged Staff Verification Committee.

Ikuru noted that while the SGLSRC was saddled with the responsibilities of properly placing members of the staff on their rightful salary grade levels and steps, the OASVC was to identify staff that are above the civil service statutory retirement age of 60 or 35 years of service.

She said, “The SGLSRC audited the vouchers and nominal rolls of 189 schools, zonal boards and board headquarters with the staff strength of 5,980. The payroll gross in August was N594.1m and the gross audit for the same month was N557.7m.

“Therefore, the audit report, if implemented, have the board be making a savings of N36.3m. Regarding the OASVC, a total number of 413 staff were involved in cases of falsification of records, in terms of under-declaration of age and questionable letters of first appointments, cases were reviewed with a wage bill of N35.4m.

“Out of this number, 141 were cleared and 158 staff recommended for immediate retirement, grossing a wage bill of N9.5m. Meanwhile, 114 staff were absent from the exercise, thereby grossing a wage bill of N9.8m. Having waited for more than a month without hearing from those members of staff, the absentees are now recommended for possible retirement from the service.

“Therefore, if these recommendations are implemented, the board stands to save a total of N19.3m. If the recommendations of the two committees are pooled together financially, the board will now gross a total saving of N55.7m per month and N669.3m per annum.”

Ikuru commended Governor Dickson for damning the consequences and carrying out the necessary reforms to sanitise and correct anomalies in the public service, noting that it was in a bid to ensure that staff are placed on their rightful positions and that a good foundation for a prosperous state civil service was formally laid.

She stressed that the essence of the exercise was not a witch-hunt or sack, but to clean up and sanitise the system, saying that every complaint should be forwarded via the principals and zonal directors to the board.

She appealed to the governor to approve the implementation of staff promotion for July 2015 and January 2016 of the board by merely making the pronouncement, even as she gave the governor the assurance that internal mechanisms were already in place to take care of all the details.

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