The fate of the formal presentation of the 2019 Budget appropriation bill by President Muhammadu Buhari before the joint sitting of the National Assembly on next week Wednesday is now hanging in the balance.
The TribuneOnline investigation revealed that this is as a result of the resolution of the workers of the National Assembly under the umbrella of Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) to embark on another four-day warning strike starting from Monday over unpaid allowances and other unresolved sundry issues.
Recall that the aggrieved workers had recently protested over same during which the National Assembly Complex was shut down and the two Chambers put under lock and keys thus preventing lawmakers from gaining access to the Chambers.
Also recall that President Buhari had scheduled Wednesday for the presentation of the 2019 budget proposal for the Joint Session of the National Assembly through the letters to the two Chambers.
However, it was gathered that the leadership of PASAN had in a letter dated December 14, 2018, to the National Assembly Service Commission notified it of the union’s intention to resume the suspended strike and as well instructing the union members to stay off their respective duties.
According to the memo of PASAN, “please be kindly informed that the entire members of PASAN shall stay off their respective duties from 17th December till 20th December.”
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The memo was jointly signed by the PASAN Chairman, Comrade Musa Muhammad and Secretary, Comrade Sulaiman Haruna.
A union official told TribuneOnline in confidence that the four-day warning strike was strategically designed by the parliamentary workers to embarrass both the Federal Government and the management as well as the presiding officers of the National Assembly over their inability to address the grievances of the workers over the years .
The two Chambers of the National Assembly had after the initial protest summoned the Minister of Finance over the matter and as well set up a joint committee to look into how best the issue could be resolved.
Speaking over the fresh threat and its likely negative effects on the presentation of the 2019 budget appropriation before the joint sitting of the National Assembly, Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Publicity, Hon Abdulrazaq Namdas said all hands are on the desk in order to avert the strike by addressing the grievances of the staff with all those concerned.
He said that the joint committee put in place by the two Chambers had been interacting with the Finance Minister since the payments of the allowances were captured in the 2018 budget, saying that the management had said the money was yet to be released to offset the debts.
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