Senator wants allowances of all politicians reduced

Nigerian Senate Chambers
Nigerian Senate Chamber used to illustrate the story.

The senator representing Osun Central Senatorial district, Olusola Adeyeye, on Wednesday called for a reduction in allowances of all politicians including senators.

The senator threw the red chamber into a rowdy session when he made this remark while speaking on the 2018 budget appropriation.

The budget has faced series of criticisms from the lawmakers since the start of the debate on Tuesday.

Mr. Adeyeye said the allowances of all politicians, including senators, must give way to make the budget realisable.

“If we are all going to complain, let’s face it,” he said. “I don’t want deficit budget. If we don’t want it and we want to slash the budget of N8 trillion to N4 trillion, some things must give way including the allowances of all politicians.”

This remark was followed by shouts of ‘it begins with you’ from other Senators as they urged Mr. Adeyeye to take the lead in the recommendation.

‘Yes, I agree,’ he replied.

“I’m just saying that there is no gain without pain and we all know it. I agree with you, beginning with me, I agree.

“Here in this place, weeks after weeks, we create new entities that will consume more money at a time when we know the revenue is not increasing. Even this N8 trillion that we are talking about, I bet you, all of us, including myself will go and ask for more things for our constituency, where do we want the money to come from?

“If we are going to face the truth, we must face the truth together.”

Following public outcry, leaders of the National Assembly, for the first time in about eight years, made public, details of the National Assembly’s budget in 2017.

Before then, details of the budget of the two arms of the legislature had always been shrouded in secrecy much so that some of the lawmakers had no knowledge of it.

The 33-page document released in May 2017 revealed that the National Assembly budget was increased by N10 billion to N125 billion, from the N115 billion proposed by the executive.

Of the N125 billion, N85.8 billion was assigned to total overhead costs, N23.7 billion for personnel costs and N14.9 billion for capital projects.

About N9.6 billion was also proposed for legislative aides of the 469 lawmakers in the two chambers.

The Management of the National Assembly was allocated N14.9 billion, Senate’s budget was put at N31.4 billion, while the House of Representatives got a total of N49 billion.

However, the information released did not specify the breakdown of the budgetary sub-head for overheads, thus fuelling the suspicion that this is where the senators get paid the quarterly running cost for each of their offices.

The two legislative chambers have commenced work on the N8.6 trillion2018 appropriation bill submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari.

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