Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has lamented that the National Assembly is grappling with funding constraints in carrying out its statutory functions.
Mr. Saraki noted that contrary to public perception that the National Assembly is being overfunded, increase in legislative activities especially that of the 8th senate has created funding constraint for the legislative arm of government
According to a statement by his special assistant on print media, Chuks Okocha, the senate president said this when he paid a visit to the chairman and members of the National Assembly Service Commission at its temporary office located in Utako, Abuja, on Wednesday.
In response to a request by the chairman of NASC, Adamu Fika, to have a permanent office of the commission inside the National Assembly complex, Mr. Saraki pledged his support towards the project, while noting that adequate funding remains the major challenge of the National Assembly.
The statement quoted him as saying, “One of the things that I see here today is the issue of budgetary constraints. However, the impression around the country is often that the National Assembly has too much money. But we have seen the challenges of the last few years.”
He added that the bulk of work of the lawmakers, which have increased in recent years, account for the rise in funding requirement.
The statement further quoted him as saying, “As we work through the number of bills passed, the public hearings held, and the number of ad-hoc committees that have been established — we know the challenges of not being able to fund some of our activities.
“So far, I am happy to report that despite these constraints, the 8th Senate has been able to surpass all previous Senates in the number of Bills that we have passed in 2-years — despite the funding gaps.
“We know that as we continue over time, people will begin to have more confidence in the National Assembly. However, right now, the challenges that we have are the issue of perception, and the issue of funding. We need to work hard to change this,” he said.
Mr. Saraki who is also the chairman of the National Assembly, sought the commission’s cooperation in redeeming the image of the legislative arm of government.
“Therefore, we all have a lot of work in trying to make the people appreciate the role of the legislature in our democracy,” Mr. Saraki said. “This has not been easy, this is why I am sure that working with the Commission, we can work towards this together so that we can improve the image of the National Assembly.”
Earlier, the Chairman of the NASC, DrAdamu Fika, lamented that the commission still operates from a rented apartment with the attendant cost.
Source: ( Punch Newspaper )