NASS increases its budget to N150bn

The National Assembly has reportedly increase its 2017 budget in this year’s Appropriation Bill to N150 billion from the initial proposal of N120 billion.

This is just as the Appropriation Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives would Thursday lay the 2017 budget ahead of its consideration next week.

THISDAY reported that the 2017 Appropriation Bill to be laid Thursday would include details of the appropriated expenditure (expenditure line items and sub-heads) of the National Assembly, in line with the promise made by its leadership to make public the details of its budget.

THISDAY, however, could not confirm if the federal government’s budget was increased, reduced or retained at N7.3 trillion as proposed by the executive.

A source in the Senate explained that the legislature had to increase its budget to N150 billion, as it could no longer deploy the pooled resources for services provided in the National Assembly.

“We are opening our budget to scrutiny and since we are doing that, there are more exigencies such as services being provided in the National Assembly, they are getting more money.

“More importantly, now that we are opening the budget, it means we have to account for all the activities: the monies used to clean the House and Senate, for instance. We use cleaning agencies for this, as we do not have civil servants who clean the premises. It is done on a contractual agreement. We also have people fuelling the generators and all that.

“As against what happened in the past, when we just went into a pool of funds and took the money, now there is need to account for every naira that is spent.

“So they had to get the kind of costing applicable for those things, and in the process of getting the official costing for these things, some of these services have increased due to the foreign exchange rate. These include the cost of diesel; purchase of utility vehicle; etc, which have all increased,” the source said.

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