The National Assembly has increased its budget by over N100 billion

Despite the nation’s economic challenges, federal lawmakers have raised their allocation in the 2024 budget to an unprecedented N344.48 billion.

The lawmakers increased by over 50 percent the N197 billion proposed by President Bola Tinubu for them in the budget proposal submitted to them in November.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives passed the federal budget on Saturday after increasing it from N27.5 trillion proposed by the president to N28.7 trillion, a difference of about N1.2 trillion.

The increase in the allocation of the National Assembly is coming at a time when Nigerians are being asked to endure pains due to the economic reforms embarked upon by the Tinubu administration.

The lawmakers continued the trend of arbitrary increment of their budgets irrespective of the economic situation facing the country.

Previous allocations

Between 2011 and 2014, the National Assembly had a fixed budget of N150 billion but it was slashed in 2015 to N130 billion due to the crash in the price of oil.

Under former President Muhammadu Buhari, who was in power between 2015 and 2023, the budget was further reduced to N125 billion but was increased to N128 billion in 2021, N134 billion in 2022 and N228 billion in 2023.

Many believe that the “stagnant budget” in the 8th Assembly (2015-2019) was due to the strained relationship between the leadership of the National Assembly and Mr Buhari.

The former president proposed a budget of N169 billion for the National Assembly in 2023, but the lawmakers increased it to N228 billion.

One of the reasons given by the lawmakers was that “certain projects were not catered for in the initial budget.”

In addition, the lawmakers allocated N30 billion for payment of severance allowance for their aides and ex-lawmakers.

President Tinubu proposed N197 billion as a budget estimate for the National Assembly in the 2024 budget thus reducing the 2023 budget by about N30 billion.

However, the lawmakers upped their proposal to a record N344.5 billion, an increase of about N147 billion.

Breakdown of NASS budget

National Assembly Office – N36.7 billion Senate – N49.1 billion

House of Representatives – N78.6 billion

National Assembly Service Commission – 12.3 billion

Legislative Aides – N20.3 billion

NILDS to get N9.09 billion

Service-wide votes – N15.1 billion

Senate Appropriation Committee – N200 million

House Appropriation Committee – N200 million

Public Account committees of Senate and House – N280.7 million

NASS Library Take-Off Grant – N12.1 billion

National Assembly building (ongoing) – N4.2 billion

NASS Liabilities – N8.5 billion

NASS E-Library – N225 million

Constitution Review – N1 billion

Completion of NILDS HQ – N4.5 billion Construction of NASC Building – N10 billion

Office of Clerks and Permanent Secretaries – N1.2 billion

Alternative Power System – N4 billion

NASS Zonal Offices – N3 billion

Senate Car Park – N3 billion

Reps Car Park -N3 billion

Furnishing of committee rooms (Senate) -N2.7 billion

Furnishing of committee rooms (House) – N3 billion

Design, Construction, Furnishing, and Equipping of NASS Ultramodern Printing Press – N3 billion

Design, Construction, Furnishing, and Equipping of the National Assembly Budget & Research Office (NABRO) – N4 billion

NASS Hospital Project – N15 billion

NASS Recreation Centre – N4 billion

Procurement of Books for the NASS Library – N3 billion

NASS Pension Board (Take-Off Grant) – N2.5 billion.

NASS allocation is higher than educational institutions

PREMIUM TIMES had in an analysis X-rayed the initial proposal of N197 billion and concluded that it was more than the allocations to 26 federal universities.

Undeterred, the lawmakers increased their budget to a record level despite the outcry on the current budget.

Many Nigerians believe that President Tinubu may not have the moral leverage to caution the lawmakers because the presidency has not been prudent in its spending.

This newspaper reported how the executive planned to spend billions on renovations of residential buildings of the president and vice president, and billions on the purchase of luxurious vehicles.

Earlier, the National Assembly splashed billions on luxurious vehicles for the lawmakers.

Why NASS increased federal budget by N1.2 trillion – Committee chair

Overall, the National Assembly increased President Tinubu’s budget proposal by N1.2 trillion.

The president had in November proposed a N27.5 trillion budget. However, the lawmakers increased it to N28.7 trillion.

Speaking at the presentation of the budget, the Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Abubakar Bichi, explained why the National Assembly increased the federal budget by N1.2 trillion.

Mr Bichi said the proposal was increased because of the commitment by revenue-generating agencies to increase inflow.

“We have inflation and exchange rate for the dollar, the executive proposed N750 to the dollar, but after we studied carefully, we looked at it – it is unrealistic. So, we increased it to N800.

“Also we had a meeting with the GOEs, and we believe that their submissions are not enough. They have agreed to increase their revenue to N700 billion. That is how we can get that 1.2 trillion, which we applied to capital. This is the first time the capital is bigger than recurrent,” Mr Bichi said.

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