Senate finally passes bill to extend the retirement age of civil servants working in the National Assembly.

Sharon EboesomiMarch 1, 20244 min

The controversial bill had faced several setbacks in the 8th and 9th Assemblies before its eventually passage.

Senate finally passes bill to extend the retirement age of civil servants working in the National Assembly.

The Senate has finally agreed to extend the retirement age of civil servants working in the National Assembly.

The bill, which has been passed by the House of Representatives seeks to increase the retirement age to 65 years or 40 years of service, whichever comes first as against the current law that prescribes 60 years of age or 35 years of service for retirement.

This bill if given assent by President Bola Tinubu, will in no doubt benefit the current Clerk, Sani Tambuwal, who will become a first beneficiary.

The Senate however set up a committee to harmonise the bill with that of the House of Representatives.

Recall that the Senate on two occasions threw out the controversial bill with some of the senators, saying that special treatment should not be given to National Assembly staff and that there was a need for further consultations.

READ ALSO: Again, Senate rejects controversial 65-yr retirement age bill for N/Assembly workers  

Also recall that the controversial bill during the 8th and 9th Assemblies suffered setbacks after various stakeholders opposed it, arguing that the extension of the retirement age from 60 to 65 years and 35 service years to 40 years would create redundancy and stagnancy among the workers.

On his part, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (APGA, Abia South), heavily opposed the bill arguing that the staff of the National Assembly, who were employed by the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC), are not different from staff in other agencies of government.

According to him, it will stop the career progression of junior staff and halt the employment of young Nigerians who intend to work in the parliament.

“Let me put on record that I am opposed to this extension. I have looked at the reasons given by the Senate leader on why we should extend. The first one is that there is no harmonised retirement for teachers. Teachers are the bedrock of raising the society and the development of the country.

“Secondly, coming down to the officers of the National Assembly, I ask a simple question. The person in the Ministry of Finance who is a director, does he not have specialised knowledge of Finance. Would we say that it is so different from the person who is in the finance sector inside this place and when you now say that one person here has knowledge but every Director and clerk has a deputy and each and every one of them are trying to go up when they retire. When they go up, other people are now employed.

“The third one, what will the Nigerian public say of us, that because we have people in there who work inside there as our staff, then we want to make them very different from the staff in the public service of Nigeria.

“I think that if we say that, people who have knowledge have to stay, then why don’t we pass a harmonised bill for everybody in this country? Why should it be special here?

“I do not see what separates the person here “a staff of the National Assembly” from the person who works in the Ministry of Commerce as a staff. Mr President, I do not support the extension.”

Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South), warned that posterity would not be fair to the lawmakers if the interest of a few individuals packaged in the bill was sustained by the Senate.

Sharon Eboesomi

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