The decision by the Bayelsa State Government to pay salaries of its workers in cash and cheques has drawn the anger of some banks in the state, findings by our correspondent have revealed.
The measure, it was learnt, had frustrated the banks from deducting their debts directly from their civil servants’ debtors.
Our correspondent gathered that the workers collected half of their April salaries in cash at their different ministries on Tuesday.
Civil servants in the state hitherto received their salaries through the banks.
A bank manager, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the development to our correspondent.
According to him, the fresh measure is a violation of an agreement the banks reached with the workers’ unions.
He noted that in several meetings, the banks and the unions had worked out modalities and new percentages of deductions before the half salary was paid.
The banker said, “We held many meetings with government’s representatives and labour unions. Initially when full salaries were paid, we used to deduct 50 per cent to service liabilities of the civil servants.
“But based on the prevailing economic problems in the state, we agreed that when the half salaries are paid, we will apply 33 per cent of deductions for the liabilities. We were shocked at the breach of the agreement.
“Instead, the government decided to be paying cash to our customers. It is affecting our cash flow. For now, we are still watching.”
A civil servant, who craved anonymity for fear of victimisation, admitted that she collected half of her April salary in cash, lamenting that the money was grossly inadequate.
She said, “I went to my pay point and I was given just half of one month. In fact, the state only paid half of April salary. I am confused because I do not know when it will pay the arrears. We have not received salaries since January.”
She confirmed that some ministries issued cheques to their workers, adding that the government moved cash to ministries’ accounts and asked them to withdraw the money and pay the workers in cash.
She admitted that some workers had not serviced their loans arising from months of unpaid salaries.
The government owes ministry and local council workers salaries ranging from five to 13 months, while it owes pensioners eight months.