NASS Cuts Legislative Aides’ Salaries, Allowances
POLITICS DIGEST – No fewer than 3,000 Legislative Aides serving in the Ninth National Assembly will be affected by the house’s decision to slash their salaries and allowances.
The aides, who are hired by the 109 senators and 360 members in the House of Representatives, started receiving letters of appointments from June 2019 while some are still expecting theirs.
Findings by our reporter showed that several aides that received appointment letters from the National Assembly Service Commission between June and August have now been directed to return the letters and collect fresh ones reflecting sharp reduction in their salaries.
The fresh letters being issued to the appointees indicate drastic reduction in the annual basic salaries of aides ranging from about N500,000 to N1,000,000 from their annual basic salaries.
For instance, a legislative aide on Grade Level 13, who was issued a ‘Letter of Appointment’ on August 1, this year had N3.3million as his annual basic salary but a new ‘Letter of Appointment’ dated September 12 indicated that the salary of the same Grade Level is now N2.6 million per annum – a shortfall of N700,000.00
Some of the affected legislative aides,,who spoke with our reporter on condition of anonymity, alleged that several billions from the National Assembly’s N125 billion budgetary allocation for 2019 may have been committed to contracts.
The expenditure, they said, included refurbishment of offices with items like photocopiers, computers, printers and refrigerators which were sold to members of the 8th National Assembly.
They said that the National Assembly is also working to provide new official cars for all legislators who resumed in June this year.
A source said: “The management never bothered about the scope of contracts being given out for replacement of several items including office furniture that are still in near-mint condition and we reliably gathered that billions have been committed to these projects.
“It usually takes about one year before any set of Legislative Aides come together and elect leaders under the banner of the National Assembly Legislative Aides’ Forum (NASSLAF) and the National Assembly knows that we are more or less in disarray, without a united voice, especially now that many newcomers are still waiting for their employment letters.
“Nonetheless, arrangements are in top gear for more billions to be expended on settlement of car supply contracts and the huge insurance packages that go with it as well as other humongous welfare items.”
There are also speculations that the National Assembly’s expectation of further delay in payment of the new minimum wage may have influenced the reduction of legislative aides’ salaries.
However, there are thoughts that the cuts in salary may be restored during the implementation of the 2020 national budget.
The sum of N125billion was earmarked for the National Assembly in the 2020 fiscal year under consideration by the two chambers of the National Assembly.