Saturday, 13 May 2017

Senate, Reps to spend N13bn on refreshment, travels, welfare

Senate, Reps to spend N13bn on refreshment, travels, welfare

The National Assembly is to spend over N13bn on refreshment, transportation and welfare packages in 2017, estimates of its new budget have shown.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives budgeted about N11.5bn for general travels and transportation (local and international) in the next fiscal year, excluding the allocation for vehicles. Senate will spend N3, 777,114,399 and House of Representatives will spend N7, 722,489,596 for the same purpose.

The lawmakers in both chambers of the National Assembly will also spend a total sum of N1.3bn on refreshment and meals. The item will cost the Senate N409, 973,760, while the House will spend N913, 289,760 for the same purpose.

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While both chambers made zero allocation for honorarium, their welfare packages will gulp N539, 760,392; N398, 168,712 in the House and N141, 591,680 in the Senate.

These estimates are exclusive of those of the National Assembly bureaucracy.

The National Assembly, as part of its ‘Open NASS’ campaign, had on Thursday published its 2017 budget, which showed that the legislature had raised its budget estimates from the N115bn in 2016 to N125bn.

The total personnel cost takes N23,789,787,880; total overhead cost, N85,878,619,888; and total capital cost, N14,940,196,063.

A breakdown of the estimates shows that the National Assembly Management gets N14.9bn; Senate, N31.3bn; House of Representatives, N49bn; National Assembly Service Commission, N2.4bn; legislative aides, N9.6bn; Public Accounts Committee (Senate), N118.9m; Public Accounts Committee (Reps), N142.7m; general services, N12.5bn; National Assembly Legislative Institute, N4.3bn; and service wide vote, N391.3bn.

Despite the publication, the remuneration of each member of the National Assembly is still shrouded in secrecy.

A further analysis of the estimates made available to the public showed that under “General Services,” cleaning services for the NASS Phase III Building will cost N606, 916,919.

Under the same column, the National Assembly has also budgeted N640, 584,000 for constitution amendment, while “Budget Coordination Activities” will cost N197, 665,920.

In their separate budgets, the PAC of both chambers will spend N56, 783,747 on transport and travels. PAC-Senate will spend N25, 339,572, while PAC-House will spend N31, 444,175.

The committee will also jointly spend N20, 546,748 on “printing of non-security documents.”

Refreshment and meals will cost the Senate committee N14, 417,492, while the House committee will spend N16, 748,428, bringing the total to N31, 165,920.

On honorarium, a total sum of N60, 220,882 will be spent by the committees. In the Senate, it will cost N24, 232,712 and N35, 988,170 in the House.

The National Assembly, on Thursday, passed the 2017 Appropriation Bill, with budget estimates totalling 7.441tn.

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