The National Assembly of Federal Republic of Nigeria has declared details of the 2018 budget top secret and unavailable. This is coming on the heels of recent unilateral increase in its allocation to itself, as arranged by its Principal Officers under the leadership of Bukola Saraki.
The Daily Trust earlier reported that national Assembly 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 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.
Efforts to get the reaction of the spokesperson of the Senate, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC,Niger) yielded no result as he neither picked his call, nor reply the text message sent to him.
House spokesman, Abdulrazak Namdas (APC, Adamawa) when contacted said the budget details would be made available in due course.
“We’ll make it available with time, but for now, we don’t have the details handy,” he said.