CHAIRMAN of the Senate Committee on Poverty Alleviation, Ali Wakili has revealed that the Ministry of Works, Power and Housing has budgetted N1.580 billion to procure vehicles this year.
The lawmaker from Bauchi State lamented that this wass against Senators and members of the House of Representatives getting car loans only once in four years.
Wakili also said that emolument of lawmakers is fixed by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission and the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).
His words: “My salary is not more than N774,000, with other allowances.
“I complained at plenary that the Federal Ministry of Works, Housing and Power, at one go, is buying vehicles worth N1.23 billion and at another, they are buying with N590 million.
“But, for senators, we are buying these vehicles once in our four-year tenure and Nigerians went as if heavens were falling.
“Nobody is giving you that car loan every year the way it is been portrayed. They pay you housing allowance for the first year en bloc. Subsequent years, it is paid the way it is done in civil service. They spread it over 12 months.’’
On lawmakers’ emoluments, he said the Seventh Assembly had addressed the issue but noted how, “unfortunately, social media is still circulating false information.”
The senator also debunked insinuations the National Assembly’s annual budget is shrouded in secrecy..
Wakili, at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum, in Abuja, at the weekend, explained that the National Assembly’s budget has always been captured in the Appropriation Bill usually presented by any sitting president.
He said in recent times, the National Assembly’s budget has been reduced, following the economic recession .
“Six years ago, the budget of the National Assembly was constant at N150 billion.
“Two years ago, because of the exigency of the Nigerian state, where there was no fund, the Seventh Assembly, before it left, cut it to N120 billion, from N150 billion. “Last year, our budget was N115 billion and it was captured in the Federal Government budget.
“Out of this N115 billion, we have the House of Representatives, we have the Senate, we have 365 members of House of Representatives, and 109 senators. Then, we have the bureaucracy of the national assembly in terms of the staff, from the Clerk to everybody…”
“We also have the Nigeria Institute of Legislative Studies (NILS), the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC), with the paraphernalia of its staff. All of us take from this N115 billion. So, I don’t know where the issue of secrecy is,’’ he said.
On constituency intervention projects, Wakili said that it was a lump sum provided by the Federal Government which went across the states and the geo-political zones of the country.
He said that the total sum of the projects was not more than N60 billion, explaining that each geo-political zone took N10 billion which was further sub-divided, depending on the number of states within each zone.
He also dismissed as false, lawmakers’ salary, especially as being conveyed by social media.