Anxiety Mounts As NASS Workers Strike Threatens 2019 Budget Presentation

The presentation of the 2019 Appropriation Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari is under threat as National Assembly (NASS) workers are to commence a four-day warning industrial action from tomorrow, it emerged on Saturday.

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 Saturday 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).

Signed by two CBN Directors, the National Assembly was asked to confirm if the information was in agreement with its records, while asking to provide further information that may assist in reconciling the differences, she added.

However, in a leter 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.

As at the time of filing this report, phone calls to the National Assembly’s Spokesman, Rawlins Agada and his House of Representatives counterpart, Abdulrazak Namdas over the development proved abortive as their lines were not available.

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