NASS bows to pressure, cuts its budget by 30%

The National Assembly has decided to reduce its budget by over30 per cent, following public outcry against the jumbo pay and revelations by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s that the lawmakers consumed 25 per cent of the nation’s recurrent budget.

Minority leader in the House of Representatives, Alhaji Mohammed Ali Ndume who disclosed the cut in overhead in an interview at the weekend, said the legislature was also concerned that the proposed recurrent for 2011 was still high, in spite of the complains from a cross section of Nigerians.

In the 2011 budget estimate brought to the National Assembly by President Goodluck Jonathan, recurrent was about N2.5 trillion, while the Capital (infrastructure), was about N1trillion.
As a result, Ndume said “The National Assembly has decided to cut down on its overhead in the proposed budget, this is generally the budget of the National Assembly. The budget of National Assembly is 90 per cent recurrent and about 10 per cent capital. Unlike other MDAs that are supposed to have more in terms of capital than recurrent.

“So, it is not the issue of apportioning blame but looking at figures and ways of improving it. Right now the National Assembly has gone ahead to cut its own overhead by 30 per cent and what I am going to propose is that the 30 per cent should be cut overboard and if this is done you will see what will happen.”
The minority leader explained that the amount attributed to lawmakers as salaries was actually the accumulation of several subheads, some of which went to office staff and for other services not directly beneficial to a lawmaker.

Since the National Assembly had agreed to cut its budget, Ndume urged other arms of government to do so, adding that over 70 per cent of the country’s annual budgets go on feeding public officers at all arms of government. “I have always said this and I will say it again, if you say our pay is relatively high, I will say it is true, but it is not restricted to us the politicians- the president, the ministers and the judges receive high salaries and allowances.

“But on the issue of recurrent, about 70 per cent of the total and the country’s budget go on overheads and the recurrent is expended on less than five per cent of the total population of this country- that is the executive, legislature and the judiciary. This is not fair and is not good for a country that is supposed to be developing.”

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