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The staff strength in the local Governments of Delta State is over bloated, according to the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Sir Bright Edejero.
The commissioner made the disclosure during interaction with members of the Indigenous Correspondents Chapel (ICC)of the Delta State Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in his office in Asaba.
Sir Edejero who in answer to a question said said it is not the duty of the state government to pay local government staff salaries as the constitution is very clear on that, pointing out that the situation on ground at the local government is that there is a lot of absenteeism in at the councils, adding that the councils have a huge burden of managing over bloated staff strength.
“Ninety percent of the local government staffs are senior staff. Then you ask what are these doing? Also,the Delta State salary structure is still the highest in the country. In Delta State a staff earns as much N50,000 toN60,000,whereas in some states their salaries are still under N30,000,” Edejero said,adding: There is a lot of absenteeism in the local governments, meanwhile the staff strength is bloated.
He said one of the innovations introduced by the Okowa administration with him as the local government commissioner is the introduction of the biometric system of clocking in and clocking out by the staff.
“The system will help to remove salary rackets like the topping of salaries made by fraudulent cartels that operate in the local governments,” he said.
Edejero announced that the biometric has helped to point out the true salaries of staff, and ensuring that there is no more bloating of salaries. “The clock in and clock out will help to ensure that staff are paid according to the number of their days at work and time spent at work,” he disclosed.
The commissioner said he was in total support of autonomy for the councils. “He said: “There is a lot of leakages in the local governments. That is why we plan that when the new helmsmen are elected would try to put structures in place to help improve IGRs in the local governments.
“For instance, the more cashless system we operate the better for the councils because cash stem of funds collection has disadvantages. There is no guarantee that those entrusted with the responsibility don’t collect into their pockets,” Edejerosaid.