Dr Agatha Goma, Commissioner for Local Government Administration, Bayelsa, said the eight local government areas in the state shared N1.3 billion from the N14.5 billion Paris Club refund remitted to the state by the Federal Government.
She gave the figures in a news conference on Monday, noting that the councils deployed the fund which was the first tranche of the Paris Club fund to clear salary backlogs in the eight local governments.
She, however, said that the fund was not sufficient to clear the entire backlog as various councils have varying wage bills even as their fund receipts and revenue earnings varied.
According to her, the breakdown of the sharing shows the following — Brass Local Government; N158.5 million, Ekeremor Local Government; N182.2 million, Kolokuma/Opokuma; N122.6 million and Ogbia; N157.9 million.
Others are Sagbama; N155.4 million, Nembe; N147.9 million, Southern Ijaw; N209.4 million and Yenagoa; N199.1 million.
“It is important to restate that what the councils in Bayelsa are facing is as a result of the recession which has taken its toll on the revenue accruable to all tiers of government, nobody tampers with council funds in Bayelsa.
“Even though we run a unified local government system, the same amount that accrues to the local governments is what is remitted to them and they are financially autonomous.
“The local government component of both the bailout funds from the Federal Government and the Paris Club refunds were remitted to the eight local governments and they were judiciously used,’’ Goma said.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on March 23 approved the disbursement of the second tranche of the Paris Club loan refunds to states that had disbursed the first tranche to local governments.
Accountability of the disbursement of the first tranche is a prerequisite for states to benefit from the second tranche of the disbursement.
Mr Ebiango Egain, Secretary, Bayelsa chapter of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria said at the news conference that the local governments shared the N1.3 billion and deployed same to clear outstanding salaries.
He commended Gov. Seriake Dickson of the state for ensuring that council funds were released to the local government as received from the Federal Government.(NAN)