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N80b yearly sufficient for N’Assembly, says BudgiT

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National Assembly

National Assembly

AN annual budget of N150 billion for national lawmakers is unsustainable, as the National Assembly (NASS) does not need more than N80 billion yearly, a non-governmental organisation that promotes citizen education on public spending, BudgiT Nigeria, has said.

It also condemned the secrecy that has so far characterised the NASS spending. Responding yesterday to a news publication (not in The Guardian), which revealed that Nigerian senators and House of Representatives spent N600 billion in four years but passed only 106 bills, the BudgiT lead partner, Mr. Seun Onigbinde, insisted that lawmaking in Nigeria should not cost over N80 billion a year.

He said: “If you give N100 million annually for National Assembly members to run their constituency offices, accommodation, upkeep and salaries, which is approximately N47 billion, and give N3 billion for its functional principals’ offices, N15 billion for workforce and allied agencies, N5 billion for oversight and N10 billion for overheads and facility management, you do not need more than N80 billion.”

BudgiT said that its investigations on Nigeria’s budget performance produced several reports on public finance in Nigeria, therefore, the entire package per year for each lawmaker should not be over N100 million, “anything more is wasteful.”

He also criticised the secrecy over the NASS budget, noting that the Budget Implementation Report of the Budget Office of the Federation shows that only N150 billion is being disbursed yearly to NASS based on its budget, but no returns to the Federal Government treasury have been recorded.

Nevertheless, Onigbinde said that reducing the 2015 budget to N120 billion is a welcome development, though it is still huge considering that the amount is higher than the actual revenue of over 26 states in the country.

“We want more transparency so that external stakeholders can suggest more cuts in line with the need for austerity,” he said. “We believe it is necessary that we see the details of what N120 billion will do before we can determine if such cuts are necessary or more cuts are needed.”

 

 

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6 Comments
  • sunday government

    Budgit has been too generous. Even the N80 billion is unsustainable for part time law makers. Constituency projects should be executed by the Executive. It should not form part of the legislators budget. That makes them law makers and part of the executive whose legal mandate is to execute. In a country where some are living on less than $1 per day, it is criminal to contemplate the salary and allowances that these law makers earn. N20 billion per annum budget for 500 legislators would give an average of N40 million per annum per legislator. This should include oversight and ‘undersight’ duties. To go above this threshold would be most insensitive and an insult on the average Nigerian phyche. Civil society organization and the NLC should be prepared to go to the streets soon to protest this nonsense which can best be described as using the law to legitimize outright stealing. It is because it is indefensible that they are shy discussing their pay.

    • Tripple_light

      The constituency white elephant should come under the State executive since all the constituencies in a state make up the constituency of the Governor. The legislators should be paid salaries only, no allowances.
      Since we copied the American style democracy, there is really no need to tinker with this baby, all we have to do is borrow the whole pay structure for the American Legislature who do more work than our pretenders will ever contemplate.

    • New Nigerian

      The constituency offices should be staffed with civil servants – IBB built party secretariats in all local governments in Nigeria as at then – these offices should be used and senators can recommend who they can work with to be their staff at the constituency offices. This will ensure transparency and accountability that the senators actually have representatives in their constituencies that will be working on the issues their people have…currently most senators lives in Abuja and their people never see them until the next election.

  • Saint Julius

    This N80b is still too much na

  • emmanuel kalu

    whoa, this is madness. why would the NASS need all this money. i have being saying, not only is it good for consumer that oil price start going back down, it would be good for nigeria in the sense that there wouldn’t be much money to steal or waste. this is just pure waste and i hope the new president begin the work of cutting down govt. NASS gets 80 billion, while the ministry of work get 10 billion to do all the projects in the country. that is not even enough to get the one state project done

  • New Nigerian

    How did this group come by N80billion – let them be transparent in their estimation. I believe that is still too much.

    The Budget process need total overhaul – Budgets should be based on plans in specifics, NASS should make their plans known (NASS has no business in having capital projects for example – that belongs to other functions of government) and transparently so and the national budget office of the civil service should put their budget together and their payments made through the civil service. NASS has no business handling money – they should be passing bills. All their statutory needs should be taken cared of by the civil service – the only payment that should go to the senators should be their individual compensations like all public officers. And no senators should earn more than the President of Nigeria or no cash should be given to a Senator that opens him or her up for corruption – Current NASS receives more cash than 21 states in the country – this is an oddity and granted they awarded themselves these budgets, after the PDP castrated the civil service, these systemic corruption need to be stopped. We expect the civil service to be re-empowered under President Buhari to do it’s constitutional duty that have been abrogated by these plutocratic law makers….and to those of them who are ex-governors we expect that the double-dipping of their outrageous pensions (that they awarded to themselves while governors of their states) which also comes from the federation account, to be reconciled with their pay at the senate (which also comes from the federation account).