NLC rejects National Assembly’s budget cut



Insists on 50 per cent reduction in legislators’ pay 

IRKED by the cost of running democracy in Nigeria, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has rejected the recent reduction of the National Assembly yearly budget, insisting on 50 per cent pay cut of the lawmakers’ salaries and emoluments.

Officials of the Congress, led by its Deputy President, Issa Aremu, at a press conference in Kaduna, pointed out that “the reported reduction of the budget of the National Assembly by 20 per cent is too token”, adding that “it is not certainly far-reaching enough.”

According to him, “The National Assembly members should appreciate the mood of the nation for leadership sacrifices, resource allocation for national development and common good as opposed to self-helps. Nations prosper when their leaders are willing to sacrifice, while nations fail when leaders engage in selfish self-help agenda”.

Aremu, who said “there has been illegal and unconstitutional concentration of scarce national resources in the hands of our legislators and executive office holders alike” stressing: “That must be reversed now.”

Also citing the patriotic stance of former President, Aremu argued “in April 2009, the late President Umaru Yar’Adua commendably and without pressure whatsoever voluntarily cut the salaries and allowances of political public holders by 20 per cent to reflect the then global financial crisis.” He said: “Late Yar’Adua did not wait for Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).

As much as N2.5 billion every year was saved from the deductions, which was in turn pooled into a fund used to improve on additional transportation for public sector workers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Nigerian economy is worse today than it was under the late Yar’Adua due to fall in oil price ad crude oil theft.”

Besides, the NLC has condemned the decision by Senator Ben Maurice Bruce to donate his allowance in the National Assembly towards the welfare of Osun State workers, saying: “We advise him to be focused in his passion for public good.

“NLC hereby rejects his so-called donation of his wardrobe allowance to Osun striking workers. No self-respecting labour unions should collect Ben Bruce’s wardrobe allowance in lieu of legitimate salaries denied workers in the states and at federal level.

“His wardrobe allowance is undeserved in the first place. In fact, the non-payment of salaries at states level is connected with frivolous pay of legislators. The whole nation has said as much.

Workers create wealth that must be legitimately earned by them as at when due. “Workers are not internally-displaced persons (IDPs) or beggars waiting for unearned donations of some over-paid legislators.

To this extent, Senator Bruce should return the wardrobe allowances he does not need to the pool and swell the national purse to pay workers.

“Above all, he should be part of the change in the Assembly to make laws that will enhance productivity, ensure dignity of Labour and criminalise non-payment of salaries as at when due.”

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