Thursday, 21 June 2018

2018 Budget: Nigerian's Real Enemies are in National Assembly


The National Assembly have once again betrayed the confidence of Nigerians as they continue to define themselves as the real enemies of Nigeria. 

The journey to discovery of the National Assembly as distractive agents stifling attempts at development of Nigeria began with the revelations of Senator Shehu Sani, a Senator Representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District in the current 8th Assembly. 

Senator Shehu Sani revealed that Senators earn #13.5 million monthly as running cost in addition to over #750,000 monthly consolidated salary and allowance for each member of the Senate. 

The stiring of the hornet nest  by Senator Shehu Sani's  revelations irked most Nigerians as many wondered and questioned the justificatory grounds for legislators to continually receive jumbo pay while the minimum wage of hungry Nigerians remains at #18,000 monthly. Painfully, while members of National Assembly receive jumbo pay,  a higher percentage of Nigerians are languishing in abject poverty and unemployment.

Worthy of note, it is the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission that is the legal agency to fix salaries and allowances for every  Nigerians. While The Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission fix salaries and wages for the rest of Nigerians, the National Assembly seems to be increasingly emboldened in total appropriation of the resources of Nigerians to themselves in abuse of power and the relevant laws of Nigeria.  

The practice of appropriation of large chunk of Nigeria's income to the National Assembly is not new. Shehu Sani's revelations is said not to capture the total emoluments of senators as Senators are said to be making more monies than the tip of the iceberg of Senator Sani's revelations. The ugly practice practice of Jumbo pay by National Assembly started with Obasanjo especially during his efforts to push for his third term bid and continued uncriticized by Goodluck Johnathan only to be openly be criticized in the Buhari's administration.

Shockingly when Nigerians have expected the National Assembly to show patriotism besides their normal rantings and blame game in the their respective chambers, the National Assembly seems more emboldened to appropriate more funds to themselves as recently shown in the 2018 Budget passed by President Buhari. The revelation of the increasing greed of the National Assembly was revealed to Nigerians in the Press Release of President Buhari on the occasion of sinning the 2018 budget.

Besides been irked by the delay of the National Assembly in passing the 2018 budget, President Buhari revealed that the National made cuts amounted to 347 billion Naira in allocation to 4,700 for critical Federal Government projects submitted to them for consideration and that the National Assembly introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to 578 billion naira. President Buhari explained that, many of the new projects introduced by the National Assembly have been added to the budget of most MDAs with no consideration for institutional capacity to execute them or incremental recurrent to accommodate them. 

The logic of the National Assembly as expressed by some of it's members in defense of the incremental pay  is said to be rooted on their desire to bring development to the grassroots. In their logic founded on greed, the National Assembly argued that it became pertinent for them to include critical projects in their various states to connect the budget impact to their constituents at  the  grassroots.

it is pretentious, spurious, vexacious, frivolous and nonsensical for the National Assembly to continually push their obnoxious logic of concern for the majority of Nigerians at the  grassroots especially when they have never called for a cut down on their jumbo pay. There is also a greater need for accountability by various State Governors and Local Government administrators.

 For God's sake, the Federal Government has remained faithful in realising funds such as monthly allocations, subventions, intervention etc to the various State Government to undertake critical projects. From these funds, the States Governors  and Local Government administators are expected to run their budget to connect with the grassrooot and not interfere with the budget of the Federal Government. A patriotic National Assembly will rather concentrate on enacting laws for greater transparency and accountability in various sphere of Government than creating more avenues for revenue loss due to iresponsibility of some State Governors and local Government administrators 

It is therefore time for Nigerians to rise in onerous voice with the President Buhari administration to curtail the greed of the National Assembly. The time to act is now for delay is dangerous 

Joseph Odok