The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yusuf Lasun, has said that the N150 billion budgetary allocation to the National Assembly was not an over-bloated expenditure.
Lasun who stated this on Tuesday in Abuja while fielding questions from National Assembly correspondents, spoke against the background of public outcry over the cost of governance and the need for reduction in the salaries and allowances of lawmakers.
According to the Deputy Speaker, the N150 billion yearly budgetary allocation to the National Assembly between 2011 and 2014 represented a meagre 2.67 per cent of the total budget of the country, not 25 percent as has been insinuated in some quarters.
“Let me tell you this, for the last three years with the exception of 2015, the budget of National Assembly has been N150 billion.
“And that is exactly 2.67 per cent of the total budget of the federation. So, I don’t know where people see this when they said it was 25 percent of the budget of the federation.
“The budget of the National Assembly is 2.67 per cent of the budget of the federation and so it is not overblown,’’ he said.
Lasun said that some people do not know that there are 469 members in the National Assembly with each one having five aides paid from the N150 billion with their technocrats.
He explained that there was the National Assembly Service Commission with its personnel, all of them drawing their salaries and allowances from the N150 billion NASS budget.
He said: “When you talk about salary, it has to be tied to something.
“So when people talk, they say it is only the House of Representatives members and the Senators that collect the N150 billion.
“But they forget that in the 2015 budget, the money has been reduced to N120 billion.’’
Lasun disclosed that the 8th Assembly legislators were going to engage development partners to find out what it takes for the National Assembly to be involved as an arm of government.
“And you might be surprised that we have reasons that we can compare with other legislative houses all over the world.
“It is not going to come from us; it will come from that body that is going to sit down with us,’’ he said.