SERAP demands reduction of N344.85bn NASS budget

Beloved JohnJanuary 16, 20245 min

SERAP has asked the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, to reduce the National Assembly budget of N344.85 billion, and make it reflect the country’s current economic realities.

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the National Assembly to cut down its budget for the 2024 fiscal year which is pegged at N344.85 billion. 

The non-profit organisation urged the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio (APC, Akwa-Ibom North-west), and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas (APC Kaduna), to cut down the cost of governance in light of the economic realities of the country.

In a statement issued on Sunday, January 16, 2023, SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said the approved budget is over 70 percent of the N197 billion proposed by President Bola Tinubu for the lawmakers in the budget proposal submitted to the National Assembly.

SERAP also described the N344.48 billion budget by the National Assembly as a violation of the Nigerian Constitution and the country’s international human rights obligations.

The non-profit also asked the principal officers to “clarify why N225 million is budgeted for the National Assembly E-Library and N3 billion is budgeted to buy books for the National Assembly Library while the ‘take-off grant’ for the National Assembly Library is N12.1 billion.

“The budget of N344.48 billion by members of the National Assembly is a fundamental breach of the Nigerian Constitution and the country’s international human rights obligations.”

SERAP said the N344.48 billion budget is the highest-ever allocation to the National Assembly, adding that the budget needs to be cut down to avoid exacerbating the country’s debt crisis and to align with the current economic situation.

“The arbitrary increase by the lawmakers of their own budgetary allocation if not cut would have significant fiscal consequences and exacerbate the country’s debt crisis.

“According to our information, the National Assembly increased its allocation in the 2024 budget to N344.48 billion. The new budgetary allocation to the National Assembly is over 70 percent of the N197 billion proposed by President Bola Tinubu for the lawmakers in the budget proposal submitted to the National Assembly.

“The N344.48 billion National Assembly budget, which is an increase of about N147 billion, is reportedly the highest-ever budgetary allocation to the National Assembly.

“The breakdown of the N344.48bn National Assembly budget is as follows: National Assembly Office – Senate – N49.1bn; House of Representatives – N78.6bn; National Assembly Service Commission – N12.3bn; Legislative Aides – N20.3bn; NILDS – N9.09bn; Service-wide votes – N15.1bn; Senate Appropriation Committee– N200m. 

“Other budget items include: House Appropriation Committee – N200 million; Public Account committees of Senate and House – N280.7 million National Assembly Library Take Off Grant – N12.1 billion; National Assembly building (ongoing) – N4.2 billion; and National Assembly Liabilities – N8.5 billion.

“Other items include National Assembly E-Library – N225 million; Constitution Review – N1 billion; and Completion of NILDS HQ – N4.5 billion; Construction of NASC Building – N10 billion; Office of Clerks and Permanent Secretaries – N1.2 billion; and Alternative Power System – N4 billion.”

“Other items in the National Assembly budget include National Assembly Zonal Offices – N3bn; Senate Car Park – N3 billion; House of Representatives Car Park -N3 billion; and Furnishing of committee rooms (Senate) -N2.7 billion; Furnishing of committee rooms (House) – N3 billion; Design, Construction, Furnishing and Equipping of National Assembly Ultramodern Printing Press – N3 billion.

“There are also other items in the National Assembly budget: Design, Construction, Furnishing and Equipping of the National Assembly Budget and Research Office (NABRO) – N4 billion; National Assembly Hospital Project – N15 billion; National Assembly Recreation Centre – N4 billion; Procurement of Books for the National Assembly Library – N3 billion; and National Assembly Pension Board (Take-Off Grant) – N2.5 billion,” SERAP said. 

The President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, recently passed the 2024 budget which was raised from N1.2tn to N28.77tn. The president had proposed N27.5 trillion as the budget for 2024.

The president also signed the N2.2tn supplementary appropriation for 2023 which will function along the national budget until March 31, 2024.

Beloved John

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