By Taiye Agbaje/Abuja
The National Assembly on Tuesday approved N160 billion for the new minimum wage for federal workers and payment of severance benefits to civil servants , in the 2019 budget.
The decision followed the unanimous endorsement of the 2019 Budget presentation by the lawmakers at separate plenaries which held simultaneously in both houses and presided over by Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara at the National Assembly, Abuja.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Dec. 19 presented the 2019 Budget proposal of N8.83 trillion before the joint section of the National Assembly.
However, the Senate and the House of Representatives on Tuesday passed the 2019 Appropriation Bill and jacked the budget to N8.92 trillion, an increase of N90 billion.
The salary increase and severance benefits were contained in the service-wide votes.
N5 billion was also provided for ”payment of outstanding death benefit to civil servants/police”.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Sen. Danjuma Goje, while addressing newsmen shortly after the budget passage, affirmed that the N160 billion was to fund the minimum wage increase and severance benefits as stipulated in item 90 of the report.
Goje, however, stated that if the amount budgeted failed to meet the demand, the Federal Government could present a supplementary budget to cover the shortfall.
NAN reports that the National Minimum Wage Bill, which was passed by the lower and upper house on Jan. 29 and March 19 respectively, was signed into law by President Buhari on April 18.
Presenting the report, Sen. Danjuma Goje said the increase of N90 billion in the budget is to cater for security challenges in the country, packages for lawmakers and support for Zamfara state.
According to him, N23.68 billion was earmarked for severance gratuity for outgoing legislators and legislative aides.
He added that the amount was also for allowances for incoming legislators and legislative aides and induction programme and inauguration of the 9th Assembly.
He further said the sum of N10 billion was earmarked for Zamfara State, while security agencies had their budgets increased to cater for security challenges.
“There is a slight increase in the budget deficit.
“This is as a result of provision for severance benefits for the outgoing legislators and legislative aides and the induction and orientation and inauguration of new lawmakers. It was not captured in the 2019 budget.
Mustapha Dawaki, Chairman House Committee on Appropriations said the budget will be transmitted to President Muhammmadu Buhari for his assent on Thursday