Some Nigerians have proposed a reduction of the 2017 National Assembly budget from the approved N125 billion to N52,490,951,173.
In response to the publication of the National Assembly budget, BudgIT and EiENigeria recently invited citizens to the “#OpenNASS Datathon” on May 20, 2017 with the objective of developing a lean and effective budget for the National Assembly as a standard for Nigeria to reduce the cost of governance.
In reaching the final sum, participants took into account all affiliated institutions, overhead costs, maintenance costs, personnel, research costs and all the line items contained in the 2017 National Assembly budget.
According to a statement yesterday, in suggesting the leaner and more effective budget, the participants noticed the repeated allocations made to each of the Senate, House of Representatives, National Institute of Legislative Studies, National Assembly Service Commission and the Public Accounts Committee (Senate and House of Representatives) for purchase of stationery and computer consumables; training, travel, purchase of motor vehicle, maintenance of the National Assembly buildings and other items.
To this end, they argued that several overhead items which accounted for 50 per cent of the National Assembly budget could be centralised in the General Services Unit for efficiency.
“The final budget is not without context as citizens observed that N5.2 billion was budgeted for University of Abuja and the National Hospital is due to receive N7.6 billion in 2017. We ask that the reduction of national Assembly spending should continue as acquisition of certain items during the current fiscal year will no longer needed to be added in future budgets.
“These rationales are informed by publicly available knowledge of the activities of the National Assembly, its supporting commissions and current prices of proposed items in the free market.
“In addition, certain items were stripped from the budget for various reasons including duplication of line items and repurchase of already existing items such as cars and furniture which, from publicly available information, were included in the 2016 National Assembly budget,” the report added.
Furthermore, the statement pointed out that beyond revising of the National Assembly budget, BudgIT and EiENigeria would send copies of the recommended budget to National Assembly management and the Acting President for consideration as regards the 2017 budget.