December 1, 2020

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The House of Representatives has called on the Executive arm of Government to lead by example by cutting its own salaries, allowances and other office running costs, before advising others to do so.

The spokesperson of the house, Benjamin Kalu, stated this on Thursday while briefing journalists in the National Assembly.

Mr Kalu’s call is coming on the heels of calls by Nigerians for the reduction of salaries and allowances of members of the National Assembly.

A section of Nigerians also called for part time legislative work to save the country from the needless financial haemorrhage.

In August 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari had issued an order directing the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to address public outcry over huge salaries and allowances of members of the National Assembly.

Not much changed afterwards and the take-home of members of the nation’s bicameral legislature have continued to elicit anger in a country where the majority of the citizens live below the poverty line.

Less Than 1 Per Cent National Budget

While calling for the reduction of cost of governance by the legislature, Mr Kalu said the National Assembly budget controls less than 1 per cent of the total budget of the country.

He further said that the N128 billion National Assembly budget is not shared to the lawmakers but used to run the National Assembly and its agencies.

“The 0.8 per cent of the national budget for the National Assembly is not enough to run the institution. If you want to cut salaries, expenses, cost of governance, start it from the executive,” he said.

“That’s the truth because the 0.8 per cent you’re talking about takes care of the senate and house. People think that the money that comes to the national assembly is divided by members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

“That’s a wrong narrative being sold and that’s what Nigerians believe. That’s why my office is actually engaging in what’s called infographics, that are going to be released very soon.

“That will break it down, once members approve it, so that you know where everything goes to. Nigerians will be shocked that people they thought were rich are not able to meet their needs and that’s the truth.

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“It’s high time we started at the 99.902 per cent of the national budget and stop focusing on the 0.8 per cent of the national assembly.”

Mr Kalu said it is deceitful that Nigerians are being made to focus only on the national assembly.

“Nigerians are not focusing on that, rather they’ve been conditioned to focus on the 0.8 per cent,” he said.

“Nigerians need to change their focus and find out what’s happening to that 99.902 per cent.”

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