By Henry Umoru
SOME Senators have declared that they do not have details of National Assembly N128 billion budget. Disclosing this yesterday, Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Ibrahim Hadejia, All Progressives Congress, APC, Jigawa, North East said that the details of N128 billion for the National Assembly were not there and he does not know anything about it.
Senator Hadejia was responding to a question on the budget of the National Assembly, why it was difficult for the National Assembly to give details of their budget except for the service-wide vote whose details are not there in the budget all other things about the budget are there but that of the National Assembly is never given.
The Senator said, “I am not aware that the details of the budget are not given. Was it not the details that gave birth to the N37b renovation of the national assembly, if the details were not there how would people have known?
“The N128 b for the national assembly, the details are never there I don’t know, I cannot give you details about the budget which I am not privy to and I was not part of those who put it together. This is something that you need to forward your question to the appropriate quarters. You can meet the appropriation committee because they know what goes into where.
“The committee on public accounts alleged that some of the MDAs have accounts not audited for upward of 20years, is that not an indictment on the Nigerian system, yet year in year out new budgets are approved without giving an account of previous ones. What is your committee going to do to stem this tide?”
When asked to give details of the National Assembly budget, Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Godiya Akwashiki, APC, Nasarawa South who also claimed ignorance of the details of the budget, said, “The Clerk to the National Assembly is supposed to be in charge of that. Being the accounting officer of the National Assembly, he is in the best position to give the details.
“The disbursement of funds for the capital component of the budget is the duty of the National Assembly bureaucracy, we don’t execute capital projects as senators, we only collect our salaries and allowances.
“We don’t award contracts neither do we determine the contractors that would get the jobs. The National Assembly budget is a public document and since the Senate president has promised to make the budget transparent, he should be in the best position to speak on the issue.”