The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has assured that the 9th House is “working assiduously” to meet the demands of members of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), National Assembly chapter.
The Speaker said the leadership of the House had on different occasions discussed issues related to the welfare of the parliamentary staff and how to improve their working conditions.
Speaking when he hosted members of the association in his office in Abuja on Monday, the Speaker said the House under his leadership would do everything possible to ensure that parliamentary staff are happy.
He said: “We believe in the partnership and work between the House and PASAN. I believe this is our first engagement, and it will continue. Hopefully, after this meeting, we will all be able to chart a new course.
“It’s important that we start this relationship. I know of your association and I know of your commitment to the National Assembly. All the things you enumerated are about welfare,” the Speaker said.
Gbajabiamila, who noted that the National Assembly and the country could not make progress without having the parliamentary staff in good working condition, said: “Your role is very critical to us and the country.
“The leadership of the 9th National Assembly is sensitive to you and what you’ve been looking for. We’ve had over nine meetings of the leadership, and it was only once or twice that the issue of PASAN didn’t come up. So, we’re working assiduously to make sure that your demands are met.”
On the issue of the staff Consolidated Salary Structure (CONLESS), the Speaker said the National Assembly would ensure that it is captured in the 2020 budget, which is currently before the Legislature.
Similarly, the Speaker said the issue of befitting offices for both the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) and the Public Complaints Commission (PCC) would be looked into in the budget.
“On staff training, again it’s about funding. I believe everybody needs continuous training. It’s a function of funding, and we’ll try as much as possible to capture that in the 2020 budget. But we must understand that it’s based on the availability of funds.”
Earlier, the National President of PASAN, Mohammed Usman, raised the issue of staff salary arrears under CONLESS, a new condition of service as well as financial autonomy for the National Assembly.
He said it was imperative that the leadership of the House looked into the issues to resolve them amicably for a better working environment for the staff of the National Assembly.
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Other leaders of PASAN at both regional and National Assembly levels also harped on the need for the leadership of the House to intervene urgently for the issues between the association and the management of the Legislature to be resolved.