Suspends proposed N37bn complex
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
Strong indications emerged Thursday night that the federal government has slashed 2020 of the National Assembly (NASS) budget to N25.6 billion.
The amount represents 20 per cent of the N128 billion approved for the National Assembly for this fiscal year.
It will be recalled that the approved 2020 budget for the Federal Government was N10.3tr budget.
But it had been reduced to N8trn due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic which had affected the international oil prices.
The government had benchmark oil sales per barrel of crude oil to $57 but the price is now hovering between 20 and 25 dollars.
In light of the situation, there is now an understanding that the budget of Executive, Judiciary and Legislature budgets would be slashed by 20 per cent.
The House Chief Whip, Muhammad Tahir Monguno (APC, Borno) has confirmed that the National Assembly’s budget would be slashed by 20 per cent.
He also stated that the N37 billion proposed for the renovation of the National Assembly complex had been suspended.
According to him, it will be a misplaced priority to talk about spending such money on the renovation of a building, stressing that only priority spendings will be tolerated.
He said: “It was decided that the budget would be slashed by 20 per cent across the board. No discrimination between the Executive, Judiciary and the Legislature. We now have to decide from which areas we will reduce our proposals.
“The reviewed budget will now be presented for passage. We are ready to receive it from the executive even in this lockdown. We are waiting; if they bring it, we will reconvene.
“There is a very big problem, our economy is going down, there is a need for everybody to make a sacrifice. We have to forgo many things proposed in our budget.
“I know that the minister of finance said the purchase of computers, office furniture and purchase of vehicles and some other line items would be removed from the budget of the executive.
“For me, even if it is brought back, I will call for its suspension. The money should be taken and used elsewhere to benefit Nigerians. We should manage what we will be able to get until things get better.
“It will be very insensitive for anybody to use N37 billion for renovation in the present circumstance. It is very irresponsible to use even N10 billion to renovate the National Assembly. The money should be used where it will benefit all Nigerians.”