POLITICS

Reps ask NASC to pay multi-billion naira appropriated for salaries, allowances in 2019, 2020 Appropriation Acts

The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, directed the management of the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) to ensure payment of all outstanding salaries and allowances of Legislative Aides for 2019 and 2020 for which adequate budgetary provisions were made and funds released on first-line charge bases, for the payment of salaries and allowances of distinguished Senators and Honourable Members.

The resolution was passed after the adoption of the recommendations of the Committee on House Services on the need to investigate the irregularities in the payment of salaries and allowances of Legislative Aides in the 9th Assembly,’ chaired by Hon Olawale Raji.

According to the report, a whopping sum of N23.6 billion was appropriated in the 2019 Appropriation Act as allowances for the outgoing Legislators and their Legislative Aides, incoming Legislators and their Legislative Aides under the service-wide vote, but all the allowances due to the Legislative Aides were not paid.

Recall that the Committee had met with the Chairman, and Members of the National Assembly Service Commission; former Clerk to the National Assembly and Management staff as well as officers of Legislative Aides Forum National Assembly Chapter (NASSLAF), with the view to resolve the crisis.

“On the payment of their salaries and arrears, they submitted that there
have been inconsistencies in the payment of salaries and allowances of Legislative Aides in the 9th Assembly.

“In their submission, they stated that some Legislative Aides who assumed duty with their Principals on June 11th, 2019, were not paid in accordance with their effective assumption of duty date. In addition, some of them whose letters were dated between September 12th, 2019 to 31st December 2019 and who had assumed duty from 11th June 2019 were also denied their arrears.

“With respect to their allowances, the Zonal Leaders laid credence to the 2019 Appropriation Act which provided for a separate sum of N23.6 billion as allowances for the outgoing Legislators and their Legislative Aides, incoming Legislators and their Legislative Aides under the Service Wide Vote. However, all allowances for Legislative Aides were yet to be paid.

“The Zonal Leaders averred that their First 28 days was also not paid which is contrary to Chapter 13, Section 01, paragraph 01, of the Public Service Rules, 2008 and therefore appealed to the Committee to direct the Management of the National Assembly Service Commission to act in accordance with the extant laws and the public service rules.

“The Committee held a one-day investigative hearing at which the Chairman of the National Assembly Service Commission and the Clerk to the National Assembly along with the Management Team appeared before it.

“Briefing the Committee, Ahmed Amshi, the Chairman National Assembly Service Commission (NASC), stated that letters of appointment were issued to Legislative Aides based on the date their letters of recommendation for appointment signed by their principal were received by the commission.

“However, the payment of their salary is the sole responsibility of the management of the National Assembly. As a solution to address the irregularities noticed in the dates of commencement of payment of salary of Legislative Aides, the Chairman promised the Committee that the Commission will henceforth take steps to harmonize the date of assumption of duty of Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members to tally with that of their Aides.

“Similarly, the then Clerk to the National Assembly, M.A. Sani Omolori, appeared in person but sought the leave of the committee not to be present because he was bereaved. The Chairman of the committee granted his request while Mohammed Umar, the Secretary, Human Resources stood in his place.

“The Secretary, Human Resources informed the Committee on behalf of the Management of the National Assembly that, the Management paid all Legislative Aides based on the dates stated on their respective appointment letters.

“In addition, the first batch of letters of appointment of the Legislative Aides came to National Assembly Management on August 26th, 2019, which made it difficult for the Management to pay their salaries and allowances with effect from June 11th, 2019,” the report stated.

In its findings, the Committee affirmed that the Legislative Aides of the National Assembly is accorded with the status of a Public Servants employed in a short term capacity or on contract basis under the Labour Act (1974), the Public Service Rules 2008 and the National Assembly Service Act 2014.

“Based on the documents submitted to the Committee which included the Payroll of salary structure/scale and record payment of salary and allowances of all the Legislative Aides from June 2019 to May 2020 and the payslips of the Legislative Aides submitted by the Zonal Leaders of NASSLAF, it was evident that not all the legislative aides were paid their salaries and allowances with effect from the date of assumption of duty nor were their arrears paid.

“The National Assembly Service Commission should direct the Management of the National Assembly to pay all the Legislative Aides their allowance for the First 28 days and arrears of unpaid salaries with effect from the date of their assumption of office as confirmed by their Principals i.e: Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members).

“This recommendation is based on the fact that adequate budgetary provisions were made in both 2019 and 2020 and funds released on first-line charge bases for the payment of salaries and allowances of Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members together with their respect Legislative Aides,” he noted.

Source: The Nigerian Tribune

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