*Passes 230 bills at N2.97bn per bill
LAGOS — As the National Assembly and Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi bicker over how much the legislators had received, Vanguard checks indicate that by December 31, 2010, the National Assembly would have received N682.4 billion as allocation from the Federal Government within a period of 12 fiscal years.

This translates to 3.02 per cent of the N22.586 trillion budgeted by the Federal Government between 1999 and 2010.

Constitutionally empowered to make laws for the good governance of the country among others, the 469 lawmakers (109 Senators and 360 Representatives) have also passed 230 bills within the period.

Compared with the N682.4 billion allocated to the legislature, each of the 230 federal bills costs Nigerian tax payers N2.97 billion.

According to Vanguard’s investigations, Federal Government Appropriations since 1999 are as follows: 1999 (N524 billion), 2000 (N702 billion), 2001 (894 billion), 2002 (N1.064 trillion), 2003 (N1.446 trillion), 2004 (N1.189 trillion), 2005 (N1.80 trillion), 2006 (N1.90 trillion), 2007 (N2.30 trillion), 2008 (3.58 trillion), 2009 (3.76 trillion) and 2010 (N4.427 trillion) totalling N22.586 trillion

Beginning with a moderate N3.39 billion in 1999, the allocations  rose steeply to N158.92 billion in 2010 with 83.27 per cent spent on recurrent expenditures while capital votes got a miserly 16.73 per cent. N568.24 billion was spent on overhead, salaries and allowances of the legislators and their aides as opposed to N114.13 billion spent on capital projects.

Speaking at the 8th Convocation Lecture of the Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, last Sunday, Sanusi said 25 per cent of the overhead of Federal Government went to the National Assembly.

Some media houses (not Vanguard) reported the lawmakers received 25 per cent of the budget to the detriment of the well-being of polity.

Piqued by the statement, the lawmakers summoned Sanusi and the Finance Minister, Dr. Olusegun Aganga.
An insistent Sanusi told the lawmakers that from the figure got from the Budget Office of the Federation for the year 2010, “total government overhead is N536,268,49,280.

Total overhead of the National Assembly is N136,259,768, 112 which is exactly 25.41 percent of Federal Government overhead. The overhead of the National Assembly as a percentage of the Federal Government budget in 2009 was 19. 87 and in 2008 it was 14.19.”

Asked to make clarifications, Aganga said although the figure given by the CBN governor was correct, it was however the overhead cost and not the total recurrent expenditure as the senators presumed.

He said: “I think what is causing the confusion is the fact that we have 25 percent of recurrent expenditure and 25 percent of overhead. So the Chairman is right if he talks about N3.2 trillion as recurrent expenditure and CBN governor is referring to overhead. If you look at the denominators, they are two different figures completely.

Aganga added that the CBN governor did not include service wide vote in the overhead cost used for the analysis as the total overhead for the federal government is about N1.3 trillion inclusive of service_wide vote, while the figure is N536 billion as quoted by Sanusi when service-wide vote is deducted.

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