The House of Representatives on Wednesday, stepped down a bill seeking to establish the National Assembly Service Pension Board after it was discovered that staff members of the National Assembly were excluded from contributory pension scheme.
The bill sponsored by Cook Olododo, which sought to amend the Pension Reform Act of 2014 to exempt the staff of the National Assembly from the Contributory Pension Scheme suffered a set back when the Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Pension, Bamidele Salami, warned that removing the NASS staff from the central pension scheme would lead to its demise as several other agencies have made similar requests but were turned down.
“The Committee on Pensions has considered similar requests from members of the Nigerian Police, Customs, Immigration and Prison.
“The overriding consideration has been that any attempt to exempt certain classes of people from the contributory pension scheme may lead to the collapse of the entire system.
“I do not see the need to exempt the National Assembly as it will open the floodgate for different sectors to request withdrawal from the scheme,” Salami said.
Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, who presided over the plenary, faulted the discharge of the pension committee, stating that the rule of discharging a committee should not be selective, particularly on a matter as sensitive as pension.
“It cannot be one rule for one committee and another for other committees. There are so many committees that, after three, four, seven months, have still not submitted their reports. That motion should have included them. You cannot single out only this one,” Gbajabiamila said.
While ruling on the bill, the Speaker said the members erred on the side of caution because of the sensitive nature of the bill and asked the Committee on Pension to liaise with the Chairman on Rules and Business on how to resolve the issue.
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