Verification Exercise In Secondary Schools Yields N669.3m Annually For Bayelsa

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

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

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

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

She said the board constituted two committees – 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 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 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, the board will be making a savings of N36.3m. As regards the OASVC, a total number of 413 staff cases of falsification of records in terms of under-declaration of age and questionable letters of first appointments 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 grossing a wage bill of N9.8m. The board, having waited for more than a month without hearing from those staff, the absentees, are now recommended for possible retirement from services.

“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 in a total savings 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 is formally laid.

She stressed that the essence of the exercise was not a witch-hunt or sacking 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 assured the governor that internal mechanisms were already in place to take care of all the details.

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