House of Reps says N134 billion NASS budget is too small

“While the dollar has gone from where it was to over N500, our budget is still the same. The national budget has moved from N13 trillion to N16 trillion. The budget of the national assembly remains at N134 billion, which is now 0.82 percent of the budget," he says.

L-R: Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo; Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; and President Muhammadu Buhari [Presidency]

The spokesperson of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, says the N134 billion allocated to the national assembly in the 2022 budget is too small, given that the Naira and purchasing power have weakened considerably in the last couple of years.

Addressing the press on Thursday, Kalu said: “The reality of the national assembly budget at N134 billion, I can assure you, and you can throw the stones and do the name-calling, and call us anything you want to call us, but I am willing to take the name-calling as long as the truth is said outside here.

"Many people would ask, ‘are you saying that the money is not enough?’ That is the truth. If you look at the committees and their responsibilities — the work they need to do — they need money to do it and the purchasing power of the money has gone low. It is affecting them, especially on oversight functions.

“The amount of money needed to go on oversight (visits) is no longer sufficient for the job to be done. I stood up (on the floor) to call on the national assembly to review this N134 billion, because there is no need trying to sound acceptable to Nigerians and we are unable to do the job that you have asked us to do. We can be praised for not changing the budget, but the job you asked us to do remains undone.

“There is no wisdom in that. The wisdom is in you understanding that the purchasing power of the budget of the national assembly can no longer take them to fulfil responsibility assigned to them by the constitution. It has been going down from 2019 till date, and this is the reality."

Lawmakers in the national assembly have received plenty of flak from members of the public for humongous salaries and allowances, since Nigeria returned to democratic governance in 1999.

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