THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA – On Thursday, May 11, Nigeria’s National Assembly (NASS) ended eight years of secrecy on the finances of the legislature by releasing its 2017 budget to public scrutiny.
According to report, the information was disclosed in details, line-by-line, in a document released by the media office of the senate president, Bukola Saraki.
This move has received positive appraisal throughout the country. A journalist described it as a ‘radical departure’ from previous years when the public only got to know the total sum as a one-line item in the national budget. But reactions to NASS’s budget items and figures are yet to come.
From ₦115 billion in 2016, NASS’s expenditure budget has risen to ₦125 billion. Of which, in summary, the upper and lower chambers (the senate and the house of representatives), consisting of 469 lawmakers are to receive ₦80.45 billion for salaries, security, equipment, insurance premium, cars, computers, internet service, office maintenance, telephone charges, electricity charges, water rates, committees activities, travels, training, medical expenses, among others.
In terms of specific basic salaries, the lower chamber with 360 members is to receive ₦4.9 billion. While the upper chamber with 109 members is to get about ₦1.8 billion. The rest of the ₦80.45 billion appropriated is what both chambers are expected to accrue on overheads ranging from committee activities, chamber administration, travels, training, etc.
Apart from the two legislative chambers, some money would go to a long list of related agencies, institutions and personnel, thus:
– National Assembly management, ₦14.9 billion
– Service commission, ₦2.4 billion
– National Assembly Institute of Legislative Studies, ₦4.3 billion
– Legislative aides, at least five to each lawmaker, ₦9.6 billion
– General services, ₦12.5 billion
– Service wide vote, ₦391 million
– Senate public account committee, ₦118 million
– House public account committee, ₦142 million
The disclosure came with the passage of the 2017 national budget as promised earlier in the year by Speaker Yakubu Dogara and last week by Senate President Bukola Saraki.