The National Assembly has reduced the salaries and allowances of over 3,000 legislative aides in its employ.
The aides, who work under 109 senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives, started receiving their letters of appointments last June while some are still expecting theirs.
According to a report by The Nation, several aides who got their appointment letters from the National Assembly Service Commission between June and August have been directed to return the letters and collect fresh ones reflecting sharp reductions in their salaries.
The fresh letters being issued to the appointees indicate reductions in the annual basic salaries of the legislative 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 N3.3 million 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.
Some of the affected legislative aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity, alleged that several billions from the National Assembly’s N125 billion budgetary allocation for this year 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 Eighth National Assembly.
They said the National Assembly was also working to provide new official cars for all legislators who resumed last June.
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. 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). 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.”