The House of Representatives has asked Nigerians to pressure the Executive arm of government to slash their salaries and allowances.
A spokesperson for the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, stated this in Abuja on Thursday, while answering questions from journalists during his weekly media briefing.
The National Assembly has said for Nigeria to reduce the cost of governance, more attention should be paid to the executive arm of the Federal Government which takes the significant majority of the nation’s budget annually.
At present, Nigeria runs a bicameral legislature where the National Assembly is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The two Chambers have a total of 469 elected members, comprising 109 members in the Senate and 360 in the House.
Agreeing that the cost of governance should be whittled down and salaries of political office holders reduced, Kalu said the agitation should be directed to the Executive arm as they get the major percentage of the annual income.
The spokesman of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, said the clamor by Nigerians for lawmakers to reduce their salaries was rather misplaced.
Lamenting that Nigerians were being sold the wrong narrative that the National Assembly earned higher, the House spokesman said: “The 0.8% 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. That’s the truth because the 0.8 percent you’re talking about takes care of the Senate, people think that the money that comes to the National Assembly is divided by members of the House of Representatives, that’s a wrong narrative being sold there and that’s what Nigerians believe”.
“It’s high time we started at the 99.902% of the national budget and stop focusing on the 0.8% of the National Assembly. ‘Nigerians are not focusing on that, rather they’ve been conditioned to focus on the 0.8%, is that not deceitful?
“Nigerians need to change their focus and find out what’s happening to that 99.902%. Once we do that, you will see the truth will start coming out, and even the Executive will know there’s a need to cut down the expenses.
“Today, in the course of our engaging these agencies, I found out that the impact of Covid-19 which ordinarily is supposed to change the dynamics, including our cost structure because you know covid affected the revenue of the country and also introduced efficient use of technology. Innovation that’s supposed to reduce the cost of governance has not been welcomed by most of the MDAs”.
“Today I asked them, why are you still engaging in the traditional travels, spend millions traveling locally in a year when innovation like zoom can enable you to hold some of your meetings. Why can’t the Executive apply that and embrace technology to reduce the cost of governance.”
Speaking on meeting up with the January to December budget cycle, Kalu said some committees of the House would start turning in their reports next week.
“You’ve been following the events in regards to this budget. We are committed to meeting up with the budget calendar to make sure that by January Nigeria will have a new budget to work with.
“So all we’ve been doing is to meet up with the January to December calendar and I want to thank the members of various committees for their dedication”.
“The House gave each of them a deadline and most of them will start turning in their report from Wednesday next week,” he said.
The House of Representatives specifically stated that cuts should be applied to the executive and not the legislature that gets less than one percent of the allocations in the national budget.