The Bayelsa State Government has said that the decision to redeploy personnel in the public service identified to be redundant by their supervisors to other agencies was in their best interest and that of the public.
The State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, assured the citizenry while speaking with a select number of journalists in Yenagoa on Thursday that the implementation of the reforms was not meant to witch-hunt any employee of government.
Iworiso-Markson averred that as painful as the government’s action was, it was done to avoid a collapse of the state’s public service which has been under rot for years.
He said that the government had embarked on a painstaking process of implementing the reforms with a focus on the welfare and wellbeing of those who might be affected by the exercise.
He explained that the government was resolute in its decision to redeploy the affected workers, because it would be inimical to the interest of the state to sustain a process that would clog its development.
For instance he said the state-owned Radio Station (Glory FM) had over 300 personnel, while its private counterparts operate effectively with less than 12 personnel.
According to him, it was the decision of the government to screen, train and redeploy workers with specialization in education to schools since the state was in need of teachers.
While calling for more understanding, the Information Commissioner disclosed that the reforms have thrown up some discoveries which includes over 80,000 inherited appointments.
Iworiso-Markson said some family members of deceased civil servants inherited their positions while irregular appointments, arbitrary promotion and impersonations has led to the over bloted wage bill which the government is gradually reducing.
The Government’s Spokesman said that contrary to the erroneous impression being created in some quarters, all those affected had their salaries being paid into the Unpaid Salaries Account which would be released to them as soon as their redeployment is concluded.
The Commissioner added that the government determined to give a human face to the implementation of the reforms had also made an arrangement to make financial provision for those found not qualified to be in the system.
Daniel Iworiso-Markson said that the plan was for the government to expose such people to training in the area of agricultural and entrepreneurial skills so that they are empowered to venture into private businesses.
He said, “The exercise itself is still ongoing and the entire public service is aware. You must note that the names of the people listed for redeployment are those submitted as redundant workers by the general managers and supervisors.
“For instance, there are over 300 staff in radio Bayelsa alone while private radio stations have about ten or fifteen doing the same job. The general managers were given the responsibility to fish out redundant personnel many of who were employed under questionable circumstances.
“So Government is saying that this is not sustainable. The onus is on government to bring them in, check their qualifications and redeploy them to appropriate agencies. Anybody with B. ED for instance, would go to the teachers training institute, trained and redeployed. Government would use these people to teach.
On the issue of the withheld salaries, the Commissioner said that the money kept in the unpaid salaries would be released to those found qualified to be engaged in the system as soon as the redeployment is concluded while those who would leave would be financially empowered to start businesses.
The Bayelsa Government mouthpiece also decried the selling of appointments for N250,000 and other employment racketeering which is more rife in local councils and parastatals.