NASS WORKERS PROTEST: REPS INVITE FINANCE MINISTER

Provoked  by Tuesday’s protest by National Assembly workers over non-payment of allowances and benefits, the House of Representatives, yesterday, resolved to invite the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, to appear before its Finance Committee to explain the reasons for the non-release of 2018 budgetary allocations to the legislature and the judiciary.

The summon followed a motion sponsored by Edward Pwajok at the plenary, yesterday.

Moving the motion, Pwajok expressed worry that both arms of government were placed on first line charge, wondering why the minister was yet to release the funds to enable the management pay the staff.

He said the development was responsible for the non-payment of the allowances, which also led to the protest.

He said: “The House notes the disruption of the sitting of the National Assembly on  December 4, 2018;

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“Further notes that Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria, PASAN, protested against the non release of their benefits including promotions and other entitlements;

“Disturbed that the non-release is as a result of the non implementation of the 2018 Appropriation Act of the National Assembly;

“Notes that the National Assembly and the judiciary are on the first line charge and there ought to be full implementation of the budget of the two arms of government.”

Briefing journalists at the end of plenary, spokesman of the House, Abdulrazak Namdas, said the action of the workers on Tuesday, which prevented the lawmakers from holding a session was unlawful, according to Legislative Houses and Privileges Act.

He, however, stated that the intervention by the lawmakers was to salvage the situation and give their staff better working conditions.

He said: “We have summoned the minister to appear before us. The money was captured in 2018 budget and it has not been released. So, we can’t give what we don’t have.

‘’We are of the opinion that the management staff of the NASS should have good condition of service.  For us to function effectively, we need a very functional management staff. The protest is strictly not against the members of the national Assembly.”

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