The leadership of the upper chamber of the National Assembly (NASS) has reiterated its commitment to reducing the cost of governance in the country.
The Chairman Senate adhoc committee on Media and Publicity, Senator Dino Melaye, gave this assurance while speaking on the review of the 2015 appropriation for the National Assembly.
The Renaissance reports that the Nigerian media has been awashed with an unending uproar in over the huge budgetary allocation to the National Assembly in recent years.
Many Nigerians want the Senators and members of the House of Representatives to make public their salaries and remunerations, a demand the lawmakers have refused to meet.
It is widely believed that Nigerian lawmakers are one of the highest paid in the world.
However, Melaye said that the Senate was not insensitive to the current precarious economic situation the country founds itself in.
He remarked that senators were willing to make continuous sacrifices for the country as exemplified by the cut in the 2015 budgetary allocation to the national Assembly from N150 billion to N120 billion.
According to him, the upper chamber had also set up a committee on finance to look into the possibility of further pruning the NASS budget.
“This is the first senate that is even considering reviewing the finances of the National Assembly.
“The senate is particular about listening to the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.
“This particular National Assembly, especially the Senate, is ready to sacrifice, ready to reduce its salaries and remunerations in the interest of Nigerians in view of the country’s precarious economic situation,” he said.
Senator Melaye also wants Nigerians to support the government of President Muhammadu Buhari in the fight against corruption.
He says the Senate on its part is committed to effectively carrying out its oversight functions to help nip corruption in the bud in government ministries, departments and agencies.
He further decried those opposed to President Buhari’s renewed anti corruption campaign, wondering why some people are bent on being a clog in the wheel of progress of the Buhari government under the All Progressives Congress.
“Everybody in this country can testify to the truthful honest nature of our President.
What President Buhari is doing is in tune with the demands and yearning and aspirations of Nigerians.
If you do not curb corruption and fight it to a standstill, not minding who is involved, it will be practically impossible to block leakages.
All I am saying is that Nigerians should support this man instead of castigating him, or trying to pull him down or measuring him by less than hundred days, I mean we must support this man to succeed”.
Meanwhile, a former Senator, Femi Okunrounmu, described the salaries and allowances of the present legislators as outrageous.
He noted that there was no transparency y in the finances of the National Assembly in the last 12 years.
Okunrounmu wondered what had gone wrong in the system to warrant such sharp increase in the salaries and allowances of the lawmakers.
The former lawmaker wants the country to return to the parliamentary system of government to reduce the cost of governance.
“The presidential system is ridiculously expensive; it is unsuitable for a poor country like Nigeria,” he said.
BY Say Ramoni
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