19th July 2024

The National Assembly and the 36 state assemblies of the federation as well as their agencies will spend about N724bn this year, an analysis of their 2024 budgets by The PUNCH has shown.

Further findings also showed that the salaries and allowances for federal and state lawmakers would cost the country about N50bn this year.

This means that the federal and state governments earmarked N673.94bn for the national and state assemblies as well as their related agencies in the 2024 budget.

The salaries and allowances are based on data collated from a document obtained from the website of the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission.

However, the overall allowances exceed the reported figure due to undisclosed amounts for several of the lawmakers.

An analysis shows that 109 members of the senate will get N8.67bn in salaries and allowances while 360 members in the green chamber will get N24.43bn in salaries and allowances.

A breakdown shows that the annual basic salary of the President of the Senate is N2.48m each year (about N9.92m in four years) while that of the Deputy President is N2.31m yearly (about N9.24m in four years).

Out of 19 allowances assigned to the Senate President and his deputy, only five allowances were assigned a specific figure.

The disclosed allowances include constituency allowance (250 per cent of the basic annual salary), duty tour allowance (N50,000 per night), Estacode ($1,300 per night), Recess (10 per cent of the basic annual salary) and severance gratuity (300 per cent of the basic annual salary).

The allowances of the Senate President will gulp about N33.29m, which includes a N6.21m annual constituency allowance, N248,424.25 annual recess allowance, and N7.45m for severance gratuity, which is paid at the end of the tenure.

The allowances of the Deputy Senate President are expected to cost the nation about N30.94m, which includes N5.77m annual constituency allowance, N230,916.70 annual recess allowance, and N6.93m for severance gratuity.

Other senators get N2.03m as basic annual salary (a total of N8.12m in four years) and a total allowance of N72,137,440 for each of them.

The salaries of the 107 senators will cost N868.3m, while their allowances will cost N7.72bn.

In the section for the salaries and allowances of other senators, out of the 20 allowances mentioned, only 15 were disclosed.

Similarly, the Speaker of the House gets an annual salary of N2.48m (about N9.92m in four years), while the deputy gets N2.29m (about N9.16m in four years).

The allowances of the Speaker are about N18.33m which includes N2.48m annually for constituency allowance, N247,711 annual recess allowance, and N7.43m severance gratuity.

The allowance of the deputy speaker was pegged at about N17.16m and this includes annual N2.29m for constituency allowance, N288,703 for recess, and N6.86m for severance gratuity.

Other members of the House of Representatives get N1.99m each as basic annual salary (a total of N7.94m in four years), while each got N58.76m as allowance.

The salaries of the 358 House of Representatives members will cost N2.84bn while their allowances are estimated at N21.04bn.

Also, the Speaker of a state assembly will be paid N1.64m (N6.56m in four years) as an annual basic salary while the deputy speaker gets N1.45m (N5.8m in four years).

In total, the 36 speakers will get about N59.04m as annual basic salary or N236.16m in four years while the 36 deputies will get about N52.1m as annual basic salary or N208.40m in four years.

The allowances of the speaker will gulp about N5.58m (N22.30m in four years) which includes N409,968 annual constituency allowance, N163,987.50  annual leave allowance, and N3.28m severance gratuity.

The deputy speaker will be paid about N4.92m (N19.67m in four years), and this includes N361,495 constituency allowance, N144,598 for annual leave, and N2.89m severance gratuity.

In total, the basic allowances for the 36 speakers and their deputies will cost the nation N1.51bn.

There are 784 members in the 36 state Houses of Assembly each of whom is entitled to N1.34m annual salary or N5.34m in four years and an allowance of N12.97m.

In total, the 784 members cost their states about N4.19bn in salary and N10.17bn in allowance.

Meanwhile, checks by The PUNCH indicated that the government approved a total sum of N294.7bn for the National Assembly, its affiliate bodies and infrastructure construction.

Details of the National Assembly’s 2024 budget showed that the assembly office got N36.73bn for its activities. The Senate got an envelope funding of N49.14bn while the Representatives got N78.63bn.

The political arm of the National Assembly has the Senate and the House of Representatives with 109 and 360 members, respectively, while the administrative/bureaucratic arm has the National Assembly Management headed by the Clerk of the National Assembly and the National Assembly Service Commission.

The federal parliament has affiliate bodies including the National Assembly Service Commission which got funding of N12.33bn, the National Assembly Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies (the academic arm) got N9.1bn while the headquarters got N4.5bn.

Further checks showed that the legislative aides were given N20.34bn, the Public Account Committee of the Senate got N130m while N150m went to that of the green chamber.

Office of the retired clerks and permanent secretaries were allotted N1.2bn, the service-wide vote was N15.2bn; general services got N30.81bn, National Assembly Library building got N12.12bn while books procurement for the library got N3bn; Appropriation Committee Department – Senate (N200m); Appropriation Committee Department – House (N200m). The construction of the NASC will also gulp N10bn.

‘State Assembly’s budgets’

The statutory budgets of a state assembly and its agencies surged to N379.28bn in the 2024 budget.

An analysis of each state’s 2024 budget showed that Akwa-Ibom, Kaduna, Delta, Edo, Imo, Lagos, and Ogun governments gave the highest funding to their lawmakers.

This funding includes appropriation for the service commission, civil servants and capital expenditure.

Abia State assembly got N6.43bn, Akwa-Ibom (N5.84bn), Anambra (N7.23bn), Bauchi (5.45bn), Bayelsa (N2.04bn), Benue (N6.18bn), Borno (N8.1bn), Cross-Rivers (N10.82bn), Delta (N14.17bn), Ebonyi (N2.39bn), Edo (N26.17bn), Ekiti (N2.8bn), Enugu (N6.23bn), Gombe (N5.61bn), Imo (N26.85bn), Jigawa (N7.17bn), Kaduna (N17.11bn), Kano (N10.08bn).

Other states including Katsina (N4.83bn), Kebbi (N6.72bn), Kogi (N7.77bn), Kwara (N5.03bn), Lagos (N70.56bn), Nasarawa (N6.03bn), Niger (N4.15bn), Ogun (N14.41bn), Ondo (N11.34bn), Osun(N4.13bn), Oyo (N9.68bn), Plateau (N10.15bn), Rivers (N5.02bn), Sokoto (N10.16bn), Taraba (N9.5bn), Yobe (N3.99bn), and Zamfara (N3.83bn).

  • Reactions

Meanwhile, some state parliaments have reacted.  The Ondo State House of Assembly said the amount earmarked for the budget of the assembly would not be enough to take care of all its expenses in 2024.

A check on the state’s website showed that a sum of N14.9bn was earmarked for the Ondo assembly for this year.

Speaking on the budget, the Chairman of the House Committee on Information and Orientation, Mr Olatunji Oshati, said the sum was not enough, calling for the implementation of the assembly autonomy which has been signed into law by the President.

Oshati said, “The money (budget) is not enough; even though we have been agitating for the release of our constituency allowances to carry out our constituency projects, it has not been granted. We would be happy if the money could be increased to enable the House to function well.

“It would be great if the assembly autonomy law that has been signed could be implemented, it would enable the house to address its financial challenges without any influence of the executive. The house would also function maximally”.

  •  Edo

In Edo, the State House of Assembly was allotted the sum of N13bn in the state’s budget for 2024.

The Speaker of the House, Blessing Agbebaku, had disclosed this early this recently during a function.

However, efforts to get the breakdown of the budget at the weekend proved abortive as a principal officer told the PUNCH that the breakdown could only be obtained from the Ministry of Finance.

Also, the Minority Leader of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Lukman Adeleye, on Sunday, said the budgetary allocation for the legislature was around N12bn.

Adeleye, however, said that the figure was only on paper, as precedence has shown that the actual budget performance has hardly been 30 per cent.

He said, “In this case, the actual performance, I mean the money the assembly will be able to get for a whole year, may not be more than 30 per cent of the entire budget going by the past performance of the budget.

‘’The budgetary provision was designed to take into consideration the implementation of the autonomy of the state houses of assembly as enacted during the tenure of President Mohammadu Buhari.

“The budget is to take care of both the capital and recurrent expenditure like payment of salaries for the civil servants, the salaries for the lawmakers, the constituency projects, running of the assembly, training, oversight functions among other things to aid the effectiveness of the legislature.

“But as I have earlier pointed out, the budgetary allocation is on paper because I don’t know of any governor that has implemented the autonomy law, we are still at the mercy of the executive arm of the government”.

The Deputy Director of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, Kolawole Oludare, said the NASS lacked transparency and accountability, saying, “The transparency part is letting the people be aware of how much and the process of allocation. The accountability aspect is also for the actions and the procedures of the National Assembly.

“For context, the National Assembly was allocated just under N200bn in the 2024 budget in the appropriation, and they increased it on their own by say, more than 50 per cent in the 2024 appropriation before it was passed into law. So you will see that the NASS is lacking in the transparency and accountability mechanism in the way they handle their appropriation, both recurrent and capital. And perhaps that is why also the state legislature is taking a cue from the NASS”, he stated.

On his part, the Executive Director, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, Musa Ibrahim, lamented the “discrimination and exploitation” in the unequal pay between the legislators and officials in the security agencies, describing it as unfair.

“Because the Nigerian government has created unequal pay, some Nigerians that are contributing immensely to the growth and development of this country are being neglected, and are not being given necessary support, especially those who are even giving their lives to save the country and save Nigerians.

“There’s no way you can continue to impoverish public officials, especially serving security officials with this peanut and then you expect them to go and put their lives, to protect you and the rest of the people. I think this is unfair, we cannot continue to do this exploitation and discrimination in pay. We cannot be pampering political appointees and politicians siphoning the public taxpayers’ money when there is not much to see in terms of the contribution they are making,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Chairman, the Centre for Accountability and Open Leadership, Debo Adeniran, stated that the lawmakers’ bogus pay was insensitive.

“Ordinarily, any emolument that is not recommended by the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission is against the law and anybody that earns such income has committed an offence that is supposed to be criminal in nature. But what we have in Nigeria is that our leaders behave as if they are above the law, and they behave as if they have been elected to enjoy on our behalf.

Basically, what they have done is insensitive, is actually wickedness, and it will get to a time where Nigerians will not be able to bear it anymore, and it will snowball into a conflagration that they will find difficult to douse,” he said.

About Author

NewsTrack Nigeria

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *