The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, on Tuesday directed the House spokesman, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, to release his pay slip for the past six months for public scrutiny.
Speaking with journalists at a media briefing, Namdas said he was directed to publish the Speaker’s pay slip in the spirit of transparency from October 2016 to March 2017.
He emphasised that the leadership of the National Assembly had already directed the Clerk to the National Assembly to publish details of the National Assembly budget from 2017.
Reacting to the recent publication by the Kadunna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, of his pay slip and state budget, the House urged restraint on the part of the governor and advised him to “concentrate his efforts in governing Kaduna State and stop undermining and distracting the National Assembly in playing its constitutionally assigned role in nation building.”
The lawmakers further challenged the governor to focus on addressing serious security issues currently bedevilling his state.
Namdas said El-Rufai “should be grappling with in Southern Kaduna and other governmental issues facing him. He should not give the impression that he has no challenging work to do in Kaduna State.
These attacks are coming on the heels of his now famous letter to Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari, where he made strenuous effort to undermine his government, by openly lampooning him when he has unhindered access to Mr. President. As a senior citizen, he has a responsibility not to unnecessarily overheat the polity with tendentious and unfounded outbursts.”
The House further carpeted the governor for releasing budget on security related matters and ignoring details of actual security expenditures.
“The response by the Kaduna State governor completely missed the point. Mr. Speaker’s call was for El-Rufai to extend the campaign for openness and transparency to other arms of government, including the governors’ expenditures on security votes and local government funds. He merely doubled down on his campaign on National Assembly budget leaving out the other aspects of Mr. Speaker’s request,” the House spokesman added.
Following Kaduna State governor’s claims that the National Assembly budget for its 469 members was larger than the entire budget of several states in 2016, the House also made spirited efforts to counter the governor, comparing the National Assembly with some government agencies.
According to a comparative analysis of key agencies of government with huge budgetary allocations, Namdas said: “It is most uncharitable to ignore the fact that the National Assembly is an arm of government, not a department in the executive branch.
“The budget of so many agencies in the executive is higher than that of National Assembly, an arm of government. Such agencies as NCC – N102billion, CBN – N421billion, NPA – N250billion, NIMASA – N100billion, FIRS – N146billion, customs – N81billion and NNPC whose budget runs into trillions are some examples.
“Indeed, the National Assembly Budget is about two per cent of the National budget. Yes, the National Assembly has voluntarily agreed to publish its budget from 2017, as a responsible and accountable democratic institution. What happens to 98 per cent of the national budget should engage our attention too. We are sure that if 10 per cent of the public scrutiny National Assembly receives is also devoted to those spending the other 98 per cent, Nigeria would be better for it.”
The lawmakers added: “The National Assembly Budget is not opaque. Since 2010 when the Constitution was amended and national assembly was placed on the first line charge, its budget became part of statutory transfers, together with the judiciary, INEC and others. You cannot find details of the budget of the judiciary and INEC in the national budget. It exists elsewhere. Of course from 1999 to 2010, the details of the National Assembly budget was contained in the national budget.”
“The Kaduna State governor chose to give headings of its budget on security related matters. Maybe he will give further details of actual security expenditures at the appropriate time. He claimed that the state’s accounts have been audited. No grounds have been broken here. The response by the Kaduna State governor completely missed the point.
Mr. Speaker’s call was for El-Rufai to extend the campaign for openness and transparency to other arms of government, including the governors’ expenditures on security votes and local government funds. He merely doubled down on his campaign on National Assembly budget leaving out the other aspects of Mr. Speaker’s request.”
Details of the Speaker’s pay slip which was made available to newsmen, showed he received a net pay of N346,577.87 in October, November and December 2016 and January 2017.
However, his net monthly salary reduced to N206,577.87 in February 2017 and N276,577.87 in March 2017.
According to the information on the pay slip, the Speaker’s basic salary stood at N206,425.83, Constituency allowance N175,461.96 and recess allowance of N20,642.58.