Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yusuf Lasun, on Tuesday strongly defended the N150 billion budgetary allocation for the National Assembly, saying contrary to public perception, the figure is not excessive.
Lasun spoke at the inauguration of the House ad hoc committee on Welfare, where he represented Speaker Yakubu Dogara.
The Deputy Speaker, while reacting to questions from reporters on the public criticism of huge salaries and allowances of the Senators and members of the House of Representatives, noted that the N150 billion received by the National Assembly annually is only 2.67 percent of the national budget.
He said, “When you talk about salary it has to be tied to something. Let me tell you this, for the last three years with the exception of 2015, the budget of National Assembly has been N150 billion and that is exactly 2.67 percent of the total budget of the federation, so I don’t know where people see this when they said it was 25 percent of the budget of the federation.
“The budget of the National Assembly is 2.67 percent of the budget of the federation and so it is not overblown. People have suddenly forgotten and don’t know that here are 469 members in the National Assembly with each one having five aides, paid from the N150 billion with their technocrats. We have National Assembly commission all of them draw their salaries and allowances from the N150 billion.
“So when people talk, they say it’s only the House of Reps members and the Senators that collect the N150 billion. But they forget that in the 2015 budget, the money was reduced to N120 billion and so when you do the calculation.
“That’s why the Dogara’s Speakership in the last one week has repeatedly made it known to the public that he’s going to engage in what we call NEEDS assessment. With that we are going to call the development partners to sit down and see what it takes for National Assembly to be involved as an arm of government and you might be surprised that we have reasons that we can compare with other legislative houses all over the world.
“But it is not going to come from us, it will come from that body that is going to sit down”.