Senate President Bukola Saraki has said to a news channel that the N125 billion appropriated for the national assembly is totally insignificant when compared to the entire budget for the year.
Saraki said the lawmakers have taken the most difficult decision by opening the budget of the national assembly, which he said was only three percent of the country’s total spending for 2017.
“That is not being fair because the money is not going to the senator, it is the cost of running an arm of government. It is not the senator,”
“In as much as we would take our criticism, we owe a responsibility to get across the right message; that is what it cost to run the legislative arm of government.
“You don’t take the overhead of the executive and say this is how much it cost to have a president, or a vice-president, or a minister, let’s be fair.”
When asked if the national assembly could fairly defend its budget, Saraki said: “It is three percent of the entire budget, if you factor that against other areas of government, it is totally insignificant, as regards an arm of government”.
“It sounds nice or I think if you are playing to the gallery, we can do that, but I think serious-minded leaders must address what are the major issues; yes, we should cut cost, but no matter how much cost you cut, apart from retrenchment, you cannot reduce that cost by a certain percent.
“If you truly want to cut cost, just like when you run a company, you can cut all the cost but at the end of the day, you will have to go through issues of retrenchment, which we know is not an action we are likely to take.