Fred Itua, Abuja
Senate President Bukola Saraki has revealed that the National Assembly is struggling with funding in carrying out its statutory functions.
Saraki disclosed this when he paid a working visit to the chairman and members of the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) at their temporary office located, in Utako, Abuja, on Wednesday.
Reacting to a request from the chairman of the Commission, Adamu Fika, to have a permanent office inside the National Assembly complex, Saraki pledged the support of the leadership towards the project. He, however, noted that inadequate funding remains the major challenge of the National Assembly.
Saraki said: “One of the things that I see here today is the issue of budgetary constraints. However, the impression around the country is often that the National Assembly has too much money. But we have seen the challenges of the last few years.
“As we work through the number of bills passed, the public hearings held, and the number of ad-hoc committees that have been established — we know the challenges of not being able to fund some of our activities.
“So far, I am happy to report that despite these constraints, the 8th Senate has been able to surpass all previous Senates in the number of Bills that we have passed in 2-years — despite the funding gaps.
“We know that as we continue over time, people will begin to have more confidence in the National Assembly. However, right now, the challenges that we have are the issue of perception, and the issue of funding. We need to work hard to change this.”
Saraki, who doubles as chairman of the National Assembly, noted that it has not been easy for Nigerians to appreciate the various roles of the legislature as an arm of government being the youngest of the three arms of government.
He said, “Therefore, we all have a lot of work in trying to make the people appreciate the role of the legislature in our democracy. This has not been easy, this is why I am sure that working with the Commission, we can work towards this together so that we can improve the image of the National Assembly. “