20180605

Senate, Reps Hide Their Budget Details After Increasing It?

The National Assembly is keeping the details of its 2018 budget top secret, despite jacking it up by more than 10 per cent.

The NASS increased its spending from N125 to N139.5 billion, but did not give a breakdown of what items made up the single line item.

Last year, following pressure from various stakeholders, the leadership of the National Assembly released its budget details, a development that gave the public the opportunity to scrutinise the allocations.

In the budget that has been transmitted to President Muhammad Buhari for assent, the lawmakers allocated N139.5bn to themselves as a line item under statutory transfers.

Daily Trust reports that 18 days after the 2018 budget was passed, the National Assembly has not revealed the details, unlike what obtained last year when the details were released same day the national budget was passed.

In a phone interview, a lawmaker who is not in support of the action said aside the details of the 2018 budget, the implementation of 2017 budget should be looked into.

“The issue is not only about the details, the focus should be how that of last year was spent. Even if it is in a closed session, it should be discussed. It is only when this is done that we can be talking of transparency,” he said.

He said if the expenditure of MDAs were scrutinised during budget defence, similar process should be done to the National Assembly budget for transparency.