Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has requested for the details of National Assembly budget worth about N600billion from 2011 till date.
The NLC said up till date, the budget of the parliament had been shrouded in secrecy.
Members of the NLC, who were at the National Assembly to pay a courtesy visit to Senate President, Bukola Saraki, lamented what they called the gradual increase of the National Assembly budget from N66.488billion to N104.825billion in 2008, before dropping marginally to N96.052billion in 2009.
By 2010, labour said it rose to N154.2billion, and from 2011 to 2014, the National Assembly budget was placed at N150billion.
It was however reduced to N115billion in 2015.
NLC President, Ayuba Wabba told Saraki that “Nigerians are concerned and want explanations on how the National Assembly budget, which in 2003 was N23.347billion, rose to N66.488billion in 2007 and then climbed to N104.825billion in 2008.
“In 2010, Your Excellency, under the watch of your predecessor, the budget of the National Assembly reached an all-time record of N154.2billion.
“To compound the problem of comprehension, your predecessors, obviously working with your colleagues in the Red and Green Chambers, wrapped your earning and expenditure in utmost secrecy.
“And by 2011, the details of the National Assembly budget were no longer accessible, having used your legislative powers to move it into first-line charge on the Federation Account like the Judiciary, Independent National Electoral Commission, Universal Basic Education and the Niger Delta Development Commission in 2007.
“By 2011, all that appeared under the National Assembly budget was N150billion without any breakdown.”
Wabba lamented that efforts made to get the details of the National Assembly budget were resisted by the former Senate President, David Mark.
Saraki had expressed the readiness of the National Assembly to cooperate with the executive arm of government to reduce the high cost of governance, improve on the exchange rate of the naira and the fight against corruption for positive impacts in the lives of Nigerians.
He challenged Nigerian workers to play their part in the war against corruption to which the present administration in the country has committed itself.
Saraki said the Senate under his leadership was ready to work for Nigerians and make impacts in their lives despite the erroneous impression being currently propagated by some persons outside the upper chamber of the National Assembly.
The Senate President said it was time for Nigerians workers to help the government succeed in decisively and successfully tackling the corruption menace once and for all.
He noted that while the Senate had interacted with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, it also intends to engage the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to look at the areas where the NASS can assist them to ensure that the fight against corruption is prosecuted with positive results that will be glaring for to see.
According to Saraki, the 8th Senate Legislative Agenda captures all the policies and programmes needed by President Muhammadu Buhari administration to fast track the actualisation of the “Change” mantra on which the people voted for him.
“The change that we desire can only be achieve with the support of Nigerians especially the working class. Corruption, social injustice, fuel subsidy and other related problems are key to the heart of the 8th Senate under my leadership.
“The corruption in our society especially in the last five years is obviously being enhanced by some Nigerians who have been close to the government. Though, we have encouraged the workers in these affected ministries and agencies to embrace the move by the current administration to eradicate corruption, by reporting any of the acts to the appropriate persons. We, as legislators, are also working hard to justify the trust Nigerians have on us. We hope to strengthen the anti-graft agencies to enable them discharge their functions well”, he said.
The NLC president commended his approval of the establishment of a robust NASS/labour relationship, which according to him, would go a long way in providing a platform for a good relationship with the labour.
“As labour movement, we will not hesitate to mobilise against the government if the welfare of workers and Nigerians are not place on priority list”, he warned.
Wabba, however, touched the issue of fuel subsidy removal, which he reaffirmed the stand of the congress in rejecting the call for the removal of the subsidy.
“We believe that the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, otherwise known as fuel would not solve the problem in oil and gas industry, rather the revival of our refineries and proper sanitization of the industry.
“A situation where some oil cabals establish refineries abroad, export our crude and return the refined ones at a high cost is no more acceptable to labour because it only encourage corruption and lots of job,” he said.