NASS workers strike threatens 2109 budget presentation
Posted By Dele Anofi
The House of Representatives has appealed to National Assembly workers to shelve their planned four-day warning industrial action over unpaid allowances among other demands. The House said the four-day warning strike to commence tomorrow is capable of jeopardising the presentation of the 2019 Appropriation Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, 19th December, 2018.
President Buhari had written to the leadership of National Assembly that he would be presenting the 2019 budget proposal to the joint session of the National Assembly at 11am on Wednesday, 19th December, 2018. The workers had to be placated last Tuesday by the leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives to shelve their initial strike action after denying lawmakers access to the chambers while paralyzing all official duties that day.
On the same day, the Clerk to the National Assembly, Muhammed Sani-Omolori in response to the workers demand, in a statement, heaped the blames on the Ministry of Finance that despite being on first line charge, inadequate release of budgetary allocation makes it impossible for the implementation of the new salary regime for the workers, among other demands.
The workers’ union, Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) however made a U-turn yesterday following the discovery of over N10b in the National Assembly’s Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) accounts. The union, according to a source, who pleaded not to be named said it has become obvious that the management had no intention of fulfilling the agreement after a CBN letter dated 21 November, 2018 to the Clerk requesting confirmation to two external auditors, N10,455,891,967,43 in National Assembly’s T24 account number 0020168142065 (Statutory transfer).
However, in a letter to its members on Friday, the union said after its emergency meeting of 14th December, 2018, it has been decided that a warning strike would commence on Monday, 17th December, 2018. “By this notice, be kindly informed that the entire members of PASAN shall stay off their respective duties on the mentioned dates,” the memo stated.
However chairman House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas appealed that the strike would have a negative impact on the presentation of 2019 buffet proposal by the President. He said: “What we are appealing for now is for the workers to continue to be very understanding. The budget is to be presented by Wednesday, we all know the possible implication on the entirety of Nigerians, if the document is not presented on that day.”
Source: The Nation