The National Assembly’s budget has reportedly been slashed from N120bn to N90bn, as the Presidency articulates the 2016 zero based budgeting.
According to a Daily Trust report on Sunday, news of the budget slash filtered into the National Assembly hours after President Muhammadu Buhari hosted the Senate leadership on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa.
The purported slash reportedly caught the lawmakers unawares and has thrown the whole assembly into confusion.
The assembly budget normally covers the salaries and allowances of the 109 Senators and 360 House of Representatives members as well as the budget of the National Assembly Commission, National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS) and the Public Complaints Commission (PCC).
It was learnt that the Presidency would soon transmit the proposed 2016 budget to the National Assembly just as the delay has been attributed to the downward trend of the price of crude oil at the international market.
“The slash of the budget of the National Assembly would be in the proposed 2016 budget. The Presidency is yet to send the budget because of the crude oil price. They are contemplating on the benchmark of the crude oil to be used in the budget. You know a barrel of the crude oil is around $38. It was over $100 sometimes ago”, a source close to the Presidency said.
If the proposed slash sails through, it would be the second time that the National Assembly budget would be cut in recent time.
A principal officer of the Senate, who pleaded anonymity, said the news of the budget got to them informally two days ago.
“We got the hint of the slash two days ago but it has not been communicated to us officially. I was told that they have cut N30bn from our budget”, the principal officer said.
A second term Senator from the North-East told Daily Trust on Sunday that: “frankly speaking, there is a lot of corruption in our budget. There is massive corruption in our budget and this is being perpetrated by the leadership of the National Assembly. Nobody is talking because we only carry out oversight on others and nobody is looking at our own activities”.