By Deji Elumoye
The Chairman of the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC), Ahmed Amshi, has stated that the National Assembly is currently underfunded by the federal government.
He has therefore called for the increase of National Assembly’s annual budget, saying the appropriated N125 billion is not enough for the legislative arm to carry out its functions.
Amshi stated this on Tuesday in Abuja when he played host to the Chairman of the Benue State House of Assembly Commission (BSHAC), Dr. Sylvester Atachin, and other commissioners who were on a working visit to the commission.
He said: “The National Assembly and by extension the Service Commission is not having enough resources to perform its functions optimally.
“The N125 billion annually appropriated by the federal government for the National Assembly is not sufficient and we seek an increase to enable us achieve more and ensure stability in the legislative arm of government.”
Amshi also stressed the need for state Houses of Assembly Commissions to as a matter of necessity, separate themselves from the control of the executive in the states.
He insisted that a situation where the executive takes charge to hire and fire aides to legislators is not acceptable as it erodes the principle of separation of powers.
The chairman further explained that parliament across the globe is independent, “not under any control of the Executive, even in the recruitment and management of its staff and same should apply in the state Assemblies, too”.
Amshi told his visitors to learn how to run the recently established Benue State Assembly Commission “especially in how the commission will be run and specifically on setting up its own staff structure and management”.
Speaking earlier, Atachin stated that the team’s visit to the National Assembly Commission was with a view to rubbing minds on a number of issues which can be of benefit to the state Assembly commission “as we commence the journey of providing critical administrative support to the state House of Assembly”.
He said: “Our journey commenced with the passage of the Benue State House of Assembly Service Commission 2018 Bill which was assented to by the governor on 11th Day of April 2018.
“Consequently, this five-member commission was inaugurated on June 6, 2020. As a relatively new institution in Nigeria’s democratic history, we intend to share in your wealth of experience.”