The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan on Wednesday lashed out at critics who called for a drastic reduction in the budget of the National Assembly. He said the budget of the National Assembly is “just about N128 billion out of N13 trillion budget, arguing that instead of reducing the cost of running the National Assembly, the Buhari administration should scrap some agencies that are no longer relevant in the present context of modern government.
The red chamber took this position following the approval of the report of its joint committee on Finance and National Planning on the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper presented by the Chairman, Solomon Adeola.
Speaking after the approval of the report, Lawan agreed with the submissions of earlier speakers during the debate that the cost of governance was too high and that a lot of the agencies should be scrapped to save funds for developmental projects.
“It is not the reduction of the National Assembly budget that would reduce the cost of governance. There is no money in the National Assembly. Our budget is just about N128bn out of a national budget of N13trn.
“We cannot reduce the cost of governance just by reducing the cost of running the activities of the National Assembly. We need to have a holistic, practical and realistic way of reducing agencies and cost of running those agencies that would survive.”
He said most of the agencies were created to serve specific purposes but noted that they were still being retained many years after.
He said, ” Many of the agencies were created to address specific challenges as of the time they were created. They are now irrelevant and have become conduit pipes that we appropriate money to every year while adding no value to the nation again.
“We need to work with the executive arm of government on this. I know it will be a tough task because some will argue that the exercise would lead to massive job losses but we have to find a way out of the current situation because the cost of governance is too high.