January 28, 2023

Plateau Assembly Holds 2023 Budget Defense Amidst Workers Strike

Despite the ongoing 5 days sit at home warning strike embarked upon by the Nigeria Labour Congress ,NLC and Trade Union Congress, TUC in Plateau State, members of the Plateau State House of Assembly have on Wednesday received some Ministries and agencies for budget defense.

Plateau State House of Assembly had earlier scheduled Monday 12/12/2022, for the budget defense which coincided with the day the Leadership of the two unions in the state fixed to start the sit at home warning strike over non payment of their 4 months salaries and other entitlements.

The earlier scheduled date was shifted to Wednesday 14/12/2022, but upon arrival at the State Assembly complex, the enforcement team of the unions were on ground to ensure total compliance of the industrial action by her members at the state Assembly.

Comrade Sunday Akinfolarin who led the enforcement team, said they were in the house to stop the budget defense process entirely, because according to him there was a budget before the current one.

“If what we are clamoring for was met, we would have not been here, workers have not been paid for four months now and some other issues like promotion, third party payment and so many other things that have not been met. We believe that these are the lawmakers that should have come up with well redefined laws that workers’ salary should be a priority, instead of starving them” he said.

Comrade Sunday Akinfolarin said the budget defense is meaningless, if the government is showing nonchalant attitude towards the staff welfare. He urged staff of the Assembly who are union members to comply with the sit at home directive.

Speaking on the industrial action and why the House wants the process of the 2023 budget defense to continue to enable the house pass it before the end of the year. The Speaker of the House, Yakubu Sanda said it is unfortunate that it has to take the dimension it has taken because they are labour friendly.

Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Sanda

He said they have to speak with one another to understand the need for the budget process to start, because it has a timeline and if not concluded, it will affect the system entirely.

The speaker appreciated the diligent  work the various committees he visited are doing in the process to ensure success of the process.

Some of the defense processes were inconclusive as documents presented to the committees by the various MDAs showed some discrepancies on their figures with what the budget office presented and were asked to go back and reconcile their documents before coming.

Chairman House Committee on Water Resources and Energy, Timothy Dantong expressed dismay with the ministry for failure to generate much revenue for the government due to what he referred to as linkages especially in the area of metering that has been an issue yearly. He said there are saboteurs among them who are benefitting from the old method and don’t want the issue of meter to work.

The Chairman House Committee on Health, Philip Dasun who received the management of Plateau State Specialist Hospital, Plateau State College of Health Technology, Pankshin and Zawan and Plateau State College of Nursing and Midwifery, Vom, for the defense of their budget, commended some of the institutions on the significant increase in their Internally Generated Revenue.