Reps summon Finance Minister over non-release of appropriated fund for NASS

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Minister of Finance, Hajia Zainab Ahmed

The House of Representatives on Thursday summoned the Minister of Finance, Hajia  Zainab  Ahmed over the non-release of the fund appropriated for the National Assembly and the judiciary in the 2018 budget.

This followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon Edward Pwajok on the industrial  ‎action embarked upon by the workers of the National Assembly titled, ‘The disruption of the sitting of the National Assembly on the 5th of December 2019″ moved under matter of urgent public importance.

The National Assembly chapter of the Parliamentary Association PASSAN had on Tuesday embarked on a strike over the non-payment of the 28 per cent increase of the Consolidated Legislative Salary Structure (CONLESS) among other benefits during which the complex was shut down and the two Chambers sealed off.

‎Moving the motion, Hon   Pwajok argued that the non payment of the workers benefits is as a result of the non-implementation of the 2018 Appropriation Act of the National Assembly, despite  that fact that 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.”

The motion was unanimously supported when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Hon Yakubu Dogara who presided over the plenary and the House Committee was directed to interface with the Minister and to report back within one week for further legislative action.

Speaking with newsmen on the matter after the plenary,  the Chairman,  House Committee on Media and Publicity,  Hon Abdulrasak Namdas said although the worker’s protest was not against the leadership of the National Assembly,  lawmakers were committed to the well-being of the staff.

He explained that the Finance Minister was summoned to appear before the parliament to explain why funds appropriated for the National Assembly in the 2018 budget were yet to be released as at the last quarter of the year.

Hon Namdas who pointed out that the workers acted in ignorance of the law in obstructing lawmakers from performing the legislative duties on that Tuesday for locking up the two Chambers against the legislators, said notwithstanding the House has taken necessary steps to ensure that all their grievances were addressed.

According to him, “We have called on the Finance Minister to appear before us 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 NASS is structured  in such a way that the Senate has its own fund;  house of Representatives has its own fund and the management has its own fund. Non of the two presiding officers have access to the funds of the management

“We are not supposed to be fighting people working with us.  We care for them.  But they should follow due process

“We made adequate provisions for this, it was passed and approved, but we were told by the Clerk of the National Assembly that the fund was not released for the management to pay the workers, as for us, we give out what we don’t have “, he declared.

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