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COVID-19: Ndume seeks part time status for National Assembly

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Mohammed Ali Ndume<br />


***Wants overhead costs slashed

Former Senate majority leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume, has canvassed the immediate adoption of Part-time legislative status for the National Assembly.

He also asked that all overhead costs as well as salaries of public servants with the exception of low salary earners.

Speaking with Journalists in Abuja yesterday Ndume said:

“As far as I’m concerned, we can make the National Assembly a part-time arrangement for now since we conduct our sitting once or twice in a week these days”

According to him, “If we make it part time, that means our salaries must be reduced. The reality is that we can’t continue in a situation like this where 70 per cent of the country’s budget is going to personnel and recurrent expenditure as if everything is
okay”

The lawmaker explained that his call was also informed by the fact that “This is a time when we are borrowing to fund the budget and it would not be wise to be spending the money to pay for services not rendered.

He, however, said the reduction of salaries should exempt low salary earners in the Civil service saying” “I didn’t say salaries of civil servants who are struggling to survive, should be slashed. In these critical circumstances where 70 per cent of the budget goes to recurrent expenditure and overhead, the government should really sit down and critically look at this suggestion.” he stressed.

Senator Ndume equally charged government to identify public officers that can work part-time and reduce their salaries.

“For example, even we in the National Assembly, for the period of this pandemic, I strongly advocate that the work of the legislature and other people should be made par time and therefore, pay them on part-time basis to reduce the cost. There are jobs that are not critical, that could be converted to part-time to reduce costs.

“We cannot make the jobs of medical personnel part-time. There are other essential service workers like the police and the Army. However, other jobs should be converted to part-time. A director who is sitting at home working via virtual means does not deserve a full salary.

The former Senate leader equally declared that there is nothing wrong if Nigeria could revert to the Parliamentary system of government considering the poor economic situation of the country.

He stated:

“The current situation is not sustainable. I even believe in the Parliamentary system of government. When Prof. Ango Abdullahi said Nigeria should revert to the parliamentary system of government, I said I support it because the Presidential system of government is not for poor countries like us. Today, if Nigerians demand a reversion to the parliamentary system of government, I will support it. The running cost of the government must be reduced by a certain percentage that is significant so as to create jobs for the unemployed.”


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Mohammed Ali Ndume
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