The House of Representatives yesterday, summoned the minister of Finance, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, to appear before it and give reasons for the non release of the fund appropriated for the National Assembly and the judiciary in the 2018 budget.
This is just as it said it is committed to the welfare of the staff of the institution.
The decision is consequent upon the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Edward Pwajok on Tuesday’s protest by the National Assembly by members of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) which resulted in the lock down of the two chambers of the National Assembly.
In his lead debate, Pwajok explained that the non payment of the workers benefits is as result of the low level of implementation of the 2018 budget.
“The National Assembly and judiciary are on first line charge and so there ought to be full implementation of the budget of the two arms of National Assembly.”
Also, the chairman, House Committee on Media and Publicity, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, noted that while the workers’ protest was not against the leadership of the National Assembly, legislators are committed to the wellbeing of the staff.
Namdas reiterated the need for the minister to appear before the House to explain why funds appropriated for the National Assembly in the 2018 budget is yet to be released.
He explained that though the workers acted in ignorance of the law by blocking the entrance of the both chambers, the leadership of the National Assembly has taken steps to address their grievances.
“The increment that people are talking about is not for salaries, it’s about 28 per cent and we have called the Finance minister to appear before us and tell us why it has not been released because this money was captured in the 2018 budget.
“We have summoned the minister to come and explain why resources have not been released; We will need a well equipped management staff. The protest is not against the leadership of the National Assembly.
“The National Assembly is structured in such a way that the Senate has its own fund; the House of Reps has its own fund and the management has its own fund. None of the two presiding officers have access to the funds of the management.
He continued: “We are not supposed to be fighting people working with us, we care for them. But they should follow due process.”
It would be recalled that staff of the National Assembly shut down the National Assembly on Tuesday in protest over the non payment of the 28 per cent increase of the Consolidated Legislative Salary Structure (CONLESS) as well as other benefits.