Amidst economic challenges, National Assembly increases own budget by over N100 billion

NASS

Despite the nation’s economic challenges, federal lawmakers have raised their own allocation in the 2024 budget to an unprecedented N344.48 billion.

The lawmakers increased by over 50 per cent the N197 billion proposed by President Bola Tinubu for them in the budget proposal submitted to them in November.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives passed the federal budget on Saturday after increasing it from N27.5 trillion proposed by the president to N28.7 trillion, a difference of about N1.2 trillion.

The increase in the allocation of the National Assembly is coming at a time Nigerians are being asked to endure pains due to the economic reforms embarked upon by the Tinubu administration.

The lawmakers continued the trend of arbitrary increment of their budgets irrespective of the economic situation facing the country.

Previous allocations

Between 2011 and 2014, the National Assembly had a fixed budget of N150 billion but it was slashed in 2015 to N130 billion due to the crash in the price of oil.

Under former President Muhammadu Buhari, who was in power between 2015 and 2023, the budget was further reduced to N125 billion, but was increased to N128 billion in 2021, N134 billion in 2022 and N228 billion in 2023.

Many believe that the “stagnant budget” in the 8th Assembly (2015-2019) was due to the strained relationship between the leadership of the National Assembly and Mr Buhari.

The former president proposed a budget of N169 billion for the National Assembly in 2023, but the lawmakers increased it to N228 billion.

One of the reasons given by the lawmakers was that “certain projects were not catered for in the initial budget.”

In addition, the lawmakers allocated N30 billion for payment of severance allowance of their aides and ex-lawmakers.

President Tinubu proposed N197 billion as budget estimate for the National Assembly in the 2024 budget thus reducing the 2023 budget by about N30 billion.

However, the lawmakers upped their proposal to a record N344.5 billion, an increase of about N147 billion.

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