By Musa Abdullahi Krishi
President Muhammadu Buhari has slashed the budget of the National Assembly by N14.5 billion, Daily Trust reports.
The federal legislature got N139.5bn in the 2018 budget, but under this year’s budget, the president proposed the sum of N125bn for the lawmakers, representing a reduction of N14.5bn.
A careful look at the proposed National Assembly’s budget showed that the entire N125bn was under recurrent expenditure, with overhead and capital having zero allocation.
The proposal showed no further breakdown of the National Assembly budget.
For many years, there had been no details for the National Assembly budget, until in 2017 when the two chambers made details of their budget public following sustained public pressure.
Daily Trust recalls that the president had initially proposed the same N125bn for the lawmakers in 2018, but the legislators jerked it up to N139.5bn, a development that did not go down well with the executive arm.
Our correspondent reports that from a budget of N19bn in the year 2000, the National Assembly’s budget ballooned to N150bn at some point.
For four years running, between 2010 and 2013, the National Assembly’s annual budget was N150bn each year, making a total of N600bn for the four years alone.
The lawmakers’ subsequent budgets hovered around N120bn, until Buhari’s ýcoming when he reduced it further to N115bn in 2016, which the lawmakers approved.
The president proposed the same N115bn for the lawmakers under the 2017 budget, but they jerked it up to N125bn, indicating an increase of N10bn.
In 2017, the first and only time the lawmakers made public details of their then N125bn budget, Senators and members of the House of Representatives spent N11.5bn on travel and transport; refreshment – N1.3bn; legislative activities – N21.4bn; vehicles – N6.6bn and consultancy – N5.88bn.
Other spending in their 2017 budget included publicity and advertisements – N3bn; fuel and lubricant – N2.1bn and security equipment – N1.5bn.
In all, the National Assembly spent N85.8bn on overhead, N14.9bn on capital, and N23.7bn for personnel costs in the 2017 budget.
The breakdown showed that the National Assembly management spent N6.7bn on personnel, N6.1bn on overhead and N2bn on capital, which totalled N14.9bn; Senate: personnel N1.8bn, overhead N25bn and capital N4.4bn, total N31.3bn; House: personnel N4. 9bn, overhead N39.6bn, and capital N4.4bn, total N49bn; National Assembly Service Commission: personnel N961m, overhead N1.1bn and capital N309m, total N2.4bn; and legislative aides: personnel N8.9bn, overhead N534m and capital N150m, total N9.6bn.