Senate President, Bukola Saraki has moved to reduce the allowances of National Assembly members by constituting a committee to draw a roadmap for the review of their allowances.
In a statement issued today, he said: “In response to the recent outcry from Nigerians against perceived huge allowances being paid to federal legislators, the Senate yesterday began moves to reduce its earnings by constituting a committee to draw a roadmap for the review,” Saraki said in the statement that, “its is the first of its kind since 1999″.
“It was also in fulfillment of the promise made by Senate President, Bukola Saraki, last week after a meeting with the leadership of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).”
According to him: “The nine-man committee is expected to determine if the deduction earlier done is adequate or not; determine whether the mode of disbursement of office running cost is appropriate; determine whether National Assembly detailed budget should be made public; liaise with secretary of finance and accounts to determine appropriate salary and allowances for members as well as consider the standard running cost and any other related issue.
The committee is chaired by Senate Leader, Ali Ndume. Other members of the committee are: Shehu Sani (Kaduna Central), Shaba Lafiagi (Kwara North), Sunny Ogbuoji (Ebonyi South), James Manager (Delta South), Gbenga Ashafa (Lagos East), Dino Melaye (Kogi West) and Ben Murray-Bruce (Bayelsa East).
While inaugurating the committee on Thursday, Saraki said agitation for the reduction of cost of governance particularly the earnings of lawmakers in Nigeria has remained a sensitive matter which according to him, calls for accountability and transparency in all spheres of legislation.
He tasked the committee to carry out thorough fiscal examination on Senate’s finances with a view to evolving a cost effective regime.
He said: “The subject of reduction in cost of governance has been a sensitive matter on the front burner of national issues in the polity especially with regards to the legislature. While much of this could be due to an underlining ambiguity in the monthly salaries of legislators and their allowances, there still persists the need to project clarity, accountability and transparency in all legislative matters and legislators’ welfare.
“The eighth Senate under our watch recognises the concerns raised by Nigerians about the cost of running office most especially with the economic challenges facing our nation.
“The Senate will be more transparent regarding all public funds spent for the purpose of paying salaries and allowances of legislators and ensure that distinction is sufficiently made between what a legislator actually earns and what is spent to run and implement legislative business and committee activities.
“The watchword in our financial issues will be fiscal conservatism.
“It is therefore on this arm that the committee is mandated to carry out thorough fiscal examination on the Senate finances with the aim of coming up with the best cost-effective regime in the eighth Senate.”
In the same vein, Saraki inaugurated an 18-man committee saddled with the responsibility of drawing up a legislative agenda for the Senate.
The committee is chaired by James Manager. Members of the committee include Babajide Omoworare (Osun East); Duro Faseyi (Ekiti North), Tayo Alasoadura (Ondo Central), Sonni Ogbuoji (Ebonyi South); Uche Ekwunife (Anambra Central); Hope Uzodimma (Imo West) and Ben Murray-Bruce (Bayelsa East), George Sekibo, John Enoh.
Others are Mohammed Hassan, Ali Ndume (Borno South); Binta Garba (Adamawa North), Kabiru Gaya (Kano South); Shehu Sani (Kaduna Central); Bala Na’Allah (Kebbi South), Mohammed Yari; David Umaru (Niger East) and Joshua Dariye (Plateau Central).
The Senate had opted to draw an agenda for itself with a view to setting up a standard with which its performance can be measured by the public.
While inaugurating the committee, Saraki said the agenda to be drawn is expected to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Senate; build a legislative autonomy and strengthening the committee system.
He added that the agenda would also enhance oversight functions; ensure extensive representation; reach out to stakeholders and encourage civil society involvement.
The Senate president also said the agenda would put machinery in place to guarantee implementation, monitoring and evaluation, reduction of running cost as well as effective legislative support system.
Source: PM News