Despite the whopping N128 billion approved for the National Assembly in the 2020 budget, the House of Representatives has said paucity of funds hampers it from carrying out its assignments.
Its spokesman, Hon. Ben Kalu, while addressing journalists at the weekend in Abuja, called on the federal government to make more funds available to the legislature to boost its efficiency.
According to him, the House has been operating on the same budget in the last 10 years.
He said various committees in the House were struggling with funds, but expressed optimism that the leadership of the House was doing something about it to ensure that the committees fulfill their obligations.
He said: “I will still join my voice to the voices of those who are sincerely asking for more funds for the National Assembly. I don’t want to know how the public will react; because sometimes the public reacts in ignorance. They just scream. Why should it be so? It’s the House of Representatives everyone wants to attack. Nobody takes time to do a critical analysis that is unbiased. And it is high time we started changing this narrative and begin to let people know the truth.
“People are struggling to get their job done; I have been in my office since I resumed and I don’t have a computer from the government to do my job. So, when they keep rationing this fund, there is not much we can do. We promise the Nigerian public to be patient. The activities this committee is supposed to fulfill, they will fulfill it over time; but remember we are operating on the same amount of budget that this House operated on 10 years ago. Go and check the records, the amount we are operating on is this same budget from 10 years ago. The purchasing power of our country 10 years ago, weigh it with what it’s able to do today.
“They (committees) are struggling with funds but I’m sure the leadership of the House is doing something about that to make sure that they fulfill the obligation of the mandate of their committee.”
He explained that he was not aware if the House leadership had started procuring official vehicles for lawmakers, as he didn’t have any official communication to that effect.
He added that he is still using the vehicle he came to Abuja with, saying , “I bought my own vehicle; so I’m not aware of any procurement.”