The allowances and other perks for members of the House of Representatives have been slashed to an all-time low, just within a few months and that is generating rip-ples, Sunday Mirror investigations have revealed.
Besides the whittle in alllowances for the legislators, the lawmakers may not get official cars until the third quarter of 2012, which begins in July and ends in September, this year.
While the gross quarterly allowance package for each of the 360 members was about N42million in the sixth Assembly when Dimeji Bankole held sway as Speaker, it dropped by 80 percent in the 2nd quarter of last year when Aminu Tambuwal took over as Speaker.
But about N27million
more after the jump
quarterly allowances were said to be settled for the House members by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Com-mission (RMAFC) in the First Quarter (Jan-March, 2012), before it was further reviewed downwards to a relatively paltry N17mil-lion.
A member of the House, Hon. Bimbo Daramola (ACN/Ekiti) who spoke with Sunday Mirror last week, said “My brother things are getting worse.” “The allowances have not only been slashed, these days you cannot even nominate your choice Mil-lennium Development Goals Projects (MDGs). Even when you do, you are not sure they will be implemented by the Presidency”.
Another member from Katsina/Logo Federal Con-stituency of Benue State, Hon. Emmanuel Udende, said “Even Directors in the National Assembly service are enjoying bigger allow-ances and other benefits of office than legislators”.
A member, who did not want his name in print, told Sunday Mirror earlier that “on other occasions, we (lawmakers) would have taken it up with the Speaker, but we know it is not re-ally his fault”.
He, however, denied that the falling perks of office have “anything to do with the anger of the Presidency over the manner we voted presiding officers”.
The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), Mr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, have at different occasions called for the slash in the perks of public office holders, including members of the National Assembly.
The calls have since pro-voked the Legislature to commence work on laws that would subject the budgets of CBN and other agencies under the Executive to legislative scrutiny.
The slide in perquisites of office, have also affected House powers over Appropriation as enshrined in section 162 of the 1999 Constitution.
Despite the express pro-vision of that section of the Constitution, members were allowed little or no in-put by the executive arm in the 2012 budget.
Meanwhile, more than 400 cars which were ordered for about N2.5billion as official cars for members of the House of Representatives are yet to be delivered after one year of their order by the leadership of the House at a meeting with the Directors of Procurement and Supplies, and Finance & Accounts of the National Assembly bureaucracy last year.
Chairman of a Committee in a chat with Sunday Mirror, revealed that the Chairman of the House Services Committee, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, said “The cars were yet to be fully delivered for distribution to members”.
The House Services Committee according to the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, Seventh Edition Ordered to be reprinted 28th July, 2011, the jurisdiction of the committee shall include: “welfare of members, bud-get and appropriation of the House; maintenance of the House Chamber and premises including offices and accommodation; office accommodation for Mem-bers, provision of equip-ment and materials for House premises.
“Provision of utility vehicles for House Committees, monitoring of the Finances of the House, to address such other matters as may in the course of the assign-ment be referred to it”.