N12.9 Billion Spent On National Assembly So Far, No Bill Passed

N12.9 Billion Spent On National Assembly So Far, No Bill Passed

By The Nation on August 17, 2015
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national Assembly
National Assembly Complex, Abuja

The nation may have spent about N12, 967, 600,000 in two months to maintain National Assembly members, who were inaugurated on June 9, it has been learnt.

The 109 senators got N36.4 million each; the 360 members of the House of Representatives received N25 million each.

The Senators and the representatives were first paid N10milion each  in June to ‘cushion’ the difficulty of settling down in Abuja.

The amount, which was to cover their expenses   on housing, transport and furniture, cost the public about N4.6billion.

Last month under a pro-rata arrangement for quarterly allowance covering June, Senators got N13. 4 million each and representatives, N7million each.

Since their inauguration, the legislators have gone on recess three times. Before going on break last Thursday, Senators got N13 million each and representatives, N8 million. They have yet to pass a bill since they began sitting in June.

Their inauguration was followed by the controversial emergence of Senators Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu as Senate President and Deputy President.

Yakubu Dogara and Lasun Yusuf were also picked as House Speaker and Deputy Speaker against the wish of their party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Last Wednesday, senators disagreed on the recommendation by the Finance Committee  to cut their salary and allowances.

The James Manager-led committee had recommended a 30 percent cut which, if accepted,would have saved tax payers about N2billion  yearly .

This translates to  N2 million reduction from the N51 million quarterly allowances enjoyed under the 7th Senate or about N874 million saved  from each year’s four quarterly allowances alone.

Besides, the representatives’ reduction of their quarterly allowances from N39million to N33 million will save the nation about N2. 1 billion, made up of N6million reduction in each member’s allowances over four quarters.

Some Nigerians  have criticised the Senators for rejecting the pay cut proposal even after President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo have resolved to slash their salary by 50 per cent.

After a two-hour closed door meeting on Wednesday, Senate President  Bukola   Saraki  announced that the Manager committee’s report aimed  at  reducing  salary and allowances, would be stood down. The report, he added, would debated on later date.

Following public criticism over the yearly N150billion budget being enjoyed by the National Assembly over the past few years, members  decided to reduce their 2015 budget by N30 billion, to N120billion.

EFCC

The Nation learnt that many Senators and representatives have signed documents that could make them vulnerable to inquiry by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-corruption bodies.

According to sources, just like their predecessors, the lawmakers had circulated a template used to ‘account’ for their multi-million Naira allowances.

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