Legislative aides of senators and members of the House of Representatives are poised for a showdown with the management of the National Assembly over delay of payment in salaries. The staff strength who are employees of the lawmakers are paid directly from the National Assembly budget which is on first line charge.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the National Assembly management entered into an agreement with a commercial bank that would pay salaries by overdraft between the 27th and 29th day of every month.
This agreement was honored from January to May 2021. But from June, the legislative aides’ experienced delay in payments and staggered payments contrary to the agreement signed with the leadership of the National Assembly.
A letter addressed to the management in August, which was exclusively obtained by LEADERSHIP indicated that the problem occurred in June and July.
According to the letter dated 2nd August, jointly signed by NASSLAF chairman, Salisu Zuru and the secretary, Bola Adeyemo, the manager of the primary bank had blamed the delay on internal bank errors.
“You will recall that the issue of prompt payment of salaries of legislative aides was raised with you when this exciting came on board and both parties (NASSLAF Exco AND NASS Management) reached an agreement on the subject matter.
“On this agreement, there was assurance that the salaries would be paid between 27th -29th of every month, except if it falls on weekends which aides have been enjoying and appreciated since January, 2021. However, we noticed and experienced staggered payments from the end of June. The problem took the primary bank five to six days delay to pay legislative aides.
“We also noticed this anomaly and met with the bank, they claimed that it was due to the bank’s technical errors and they promised to solve it within the shortest possible time. Unfortunately, the problem recurred in July 2021, which salary payments were not made to several other banks, thereby inflicting hardship on many legislative aides. In as much as we may not conclude on the reasons for these epileptic payments, we may not be far from saying that the primary bank is not able to meet up with its primary obligation,” the letter read.
LEADERSHIP investigation revealed that the delay was also witnessed in August even as the September salary had not been paid as of Wednesday 29th September.
A member of NASSLAF, who is familiar with the development, explained that the allocation to the National Assembly is not disbursed on a specific date, adding that there was an agreement with the
primary bank to fund the monthly payment up to the tune of N700 million, while the wage bill of legislative aides is N800 million.
“The bank is supposed to capitalize by a way of overdraft, and if the bank cannot raise the required fund, they should give way to those who have the capacity. The management should engage the services of stronger banks with definite instruction on when an overdraft facility should be given out. What we want is an efficient and reliable service,” he said.