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Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

It has been reported that legislators passed the 2017 budget and raised their vote from N115 billion to N125 billion. The increament is to effectively tackle the problems surrounding the country.

This is the first time in many years that the country’s budget plan is revealed to the public which is followed by sustained public pressure.

Senators and members of the House of Representatives would spend N11.5bn on travel and transport; refreshment – N1.3bn; legislative activities – N21.4bn; vehicles – N6.6bn and consultancy – N5.88bn. Others are publicity and advertisements – N3bn; fuel and lubricant – N2.1bn and security equipment – N1.5bn.

In all, the National Assembly would spend N85.8bn on overhead, N14.9bn on capital, and N23.7bn for personnel costs. The breakdown shows that the Management will spend (Personnel N6.7bn, Overhead N6.1bn and Capital N2bn, total N14.9bn) Senate: Personnel N1.8bn, OverheadN25bn and Capital N4.4bn total N31.3bn) House (Personnel N4. 9bn, Overhead N39.6bn, and Capital N4.4bn, total N49bn), National Assembly Service Commission (Personnel N961m, overhead N1.1bn and capital N309m total N2.4bn) and legislative aides (Personnel N8.9bn, Overhead N534m and Capita N150m total N9.6bn).

In addition, it was revealed that the Senate Public Account will get N118.9m, House Public Account N142.7m, General services (overhead N11.7bn and capital N816.9m total N12.5bn). Legislative Institute (personnel N416m, overhead N1.2bn and capital N2.7bn total N4.3bn) and Service wide vote N391m.

It was also confirmed that the Upper chamber is to spend N409.9m for refreshment and meals, while the sum of N1.472bn is for publicity and advertisement. It also earmarked N10.9bn for legislative activities with Public and investigative hearings is getting N4.755bn; senate chamber N549.072m; contingency N1.305bn; senate programme activities N2.630bn; Senate administration N503m and Senate Committee activities will gulp N1.164bn.

Also, under the purchase of utility vehicles tagged, ‘ongoing projects’ the sum of N2.759bn would be spent while another sum of N1.247bn has been set aside for the purchase of security equipment. The sum of N578m would be spent on fuel and lubricant, out of which motor vehicles fuel will get N228.7m and other transport equipment fuel, will gulp N183m. The document showed that N424m has been allocated for the purchase of photocopying machines and other office equipment.

The Senate will also spend N2.55bn on consulting and professional services, out of the amount legal services will gulp N1.27bn; Financial consulting N966m and Information Technology Consulting N320.2m. As for the House, the document revealed that the total sum of N7.722bn would be expended on general travel and transport. From the amount, local travel and transport (Training) will get N1.128bn; local travel and transport (others) N1.644bn; international travel and transport (training) N2.2bn and international travel and transport (others) N2.79bn.

Similarly, the lower chamber will spend N913.2m on refreshment and meals, while the sum of N1.555bn will be spent on publicity, advertisements and live coverage. For legislative activities of the House, the sum of N10.487bn has been earmarked with House chamber activities getting N1bn; House administration N619.5m; House committee activities N3.522bn; Public and investigative hearings N4.34bn; contingency N890.8m and public petition N109.8m.

The House will spend N3.335bn on consulting and professional services with financial consulting getting N1.464bn; legal services N1.414bn and information technology consulting N457.5m. On fuel and lubricant, the House will spend N1.555bn this year.

During the presentation of the budget summary, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje (APC, Gombe) and his House counterpart, Rep Mustapha Bala Dawaki (APC, Kano) said there were provisions for the second Abuja runway, funding of the long abandoned Itakpe-Wari rail line and the Abeokuta airstrip as well as improvement of inland waterways.

The lawmakers listed some of the items to include judgment debts (justice ministry), N10bn; backlog of corps members’ allowances (ministry of youth and sports), N13.06bn; repairs of Abuja airport runway (transport ministry), N5.8bn; increase in personnel cost (18 MDAs), N5.1bn and UNESCO assessed contribution (education ministry), N1.2bn.

Others are subscription to shelter Afrique (power, works and housing ministry), N3.6bn; Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (service wide votes), N2.5bn; Amnesty Programme (service wide votes), N10bn; National Identity Management Commission (SGF), N5bn and roads nationwide (power, works and housing ministry), N25bn.

To cap it up, the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki said the budget if properly implemented would end economic recession in the country and urges for a thorough spending and implementation.

“I am very proud of what we have been able to achieve and we do hope that this budget of recovery that we believe has reflected equity, it has ensured efficiency and adequate resources to all relevant sectors and will go a long way in helping Nigerians to come out of the economic recession and create growth.”

The transparency of this budget plan has brought mixed feelings to Nigerians. Some feel that the allocation is inappropriate while some feel it is thorough and valid. However, some feel the most important is to eradicate economic recession regardless of whatever is being allocated.

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