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N125bn budget inadequate, we need more money, says rep

N125bn budget inadequate, we need more money, says rep
May 12
18:22 2017
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Nicholas Ossai, a member of the house of representatives, says the N125 billion appropriated to the national assembly in the 2017 budget is inadequate.

In an interview with NAN, Ossai, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Delta state, said the legislature requires more money to carry out its function effectively.

The national assembly had passed the 2017 appropriation bill of N7.44 trillion on Thursday.

It had subsequently published its budget of N125bn, which was higher than the N115bn in the proposal sent by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“We are looking at the national assembly as 360 members of house of representatives and 109 senators; calculate it with the money that has been budgeted without looking at other aspects,” he said.

“We are not looking at other agencies under the national assembly like the public complaints commission, national institute for legislative studies, the national assembly service commission and supporting staff.

“The committees are carrying out national functions in line with section 88 of the constitution to expose corruption. Committees not only expose corruption, but block leakages. Definitely, we need a lot of money to address these issues.

“To the best of my knowledge, that money is not enough to address the issues of carrying out the national functions of the national assembly.”

He, however, said that the additional N10 billion would strengthen oversight functions by members of the national assembly.

“This is necessary so that Nigerians will have the impact and value creation of what has been budgeted,” he said.

Meanwhile, a legislative aide who spoke to NAN on the condition of anonymity, said they were being owed duty travel allowance (DTA) amounting to N1.3bn.

“We have been owed since 2015 and the management informed us that the allowance was not captured in the 2016 budget,” he said.

“With this development, we are aware of what is appropriated for legislative aides in the 2017 budget, we are now sure the money is there and there will be no room for excuses anymore.

“The DTA for an individual is N75,000 and about 3,000 aides are being owed.”

A breakdown of the 2017 estimates shows that N23.7bn would go to personnel cost, N85.8bn for overhead and N14. 9 billion to finance capital projects.

The national assembly management has N14.9 billion with the senate taking N31.3 billion and the house of representatives, N49 billion.

The national assembly service commission on the other hand, gets N2.4 billion.

The budget provides N9.6bn for legislative aides, while the senate public accounts committee takes N118.9m with that of house of representatives taking N142.7m.

N12.5bn has been earmarked for general services, N4.3bn for the national assembly legislative institute and N391.3m for service wide vote.

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