Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, have called for 40 per cent reduction in the allowances of members of the National Assembly as part of efforts toward reducing high cost of governance in Nigeria.
The coalition, at its bi-monthly public lecture held at the instance of NLC in Abuja, told President Muhammadu Buhari to quickly dispel or affirm the report on the N25 billion allegedly accrued to the collection agent engaged by Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, for the implementation of the Treasury Single Account, TSA.
NLC president, Ayuba Wabba, who expressed concern over the allegation, said such development was tantamount to high level of corruption and conflict with the ongoing anti-graft crusade.
The NLC boss further decried the recent ‘attack and counter-attack’ trailing the ongoing investigation and prosecution of some political office holders and the chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, on corruption related charges, saying “it’s a kind of cat and mouse game.”
To effectively stem the scourge of corruption in the system, Wabba urged Buhari to make the best use of the available opportunity on leading the country, “to appoint only people who have the capacity to drive the change policy.”
While reacting to the alleged move by Federal Government to disengage federal workers, the NLC president implored the present administration to think out of the box by blocking all revenue leakages, explore the huge potentials in the agricultural, solid mineral and tourism sectors, thereby changing Nigeria from being oil driven economy.
He also tasked government on the need to urgently address the rising unemployment and insecurity by implementing pro-people policies and programmes that would improve the standard of
Also speaking, Bobboi Kaigama, TUC president, reiterated the resolve of the labour movement to serve as whistle blower and take the present administration to task on the issues of unemployment and security.
Lead director at the Centre for Social Justice, Eze Onyekpere, who was the guest lecturer at the public lecture, said, “provisions for overhead expenses in National Assembly should be regulated by law or policy and pegged at not more than 250 per cent of the combined personnel and capital votes. In the alternative, the appropriation for National Assembly should not exceed two per cent of retained Federal Government’s revenue.”
According to the comparative studies carried out by the agency, the appropriations to the legislature in Ghana and South Africa over the years 2010 to 2015 stood at 0.46 per cent and 0.14 per cent of their overall budgets, while that of Nigeria stood at 3.15 per cent of the overall budget.
“When the appropriations are divided per capital by the number of legislators, the figures stood at $1.57 million, $0.21 million and $0.14 million per Nigerian, South African and Ghanaian legislator, respectively.”
Onyekpere, who argued that there was no empirical evidence in terms of its relationship with macroeconomic fundamentals such as inflation, the cost of living index or increased functions for National Assembly, disclosed that National Assembly’s budget increased from N29.4 billion in 2000 to N158.9 billion in 2010.
“The marginal reduction to N120 billion in 2015 may have been a reaction to falling oil prices. In accordance with the tradition of previous years, for 2015, the N120 billion excludes other National Assembly related expenditures, notably, N50 billion for constituency projects and other N50 billion backlog from 2014 fiscal year and when all the sundries are included, the actual votes for National Assembly in 2015 is about N227 billion,” Onyekpere said.
While speaking on a major constitutional breach allegedly commitment by the National Assembly, Onyekpere said: “The review by RMAFC led to a new enactment being the Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office holders (salaries and allowances, etc) (as amended) Act No. 1 of 2008.
The Act No.1 of 2008 was signed on June 25, 2008 by President Musa Yar’Adua and had a commencement date of February 2007.
“Essentially, an Act of the National Assembly had retroactive effect in a democracy.
“This goes against all known precepts of constitutionalism as a law takes effect from the date of its assent by the President or any other future date indicated in the body of the law.”

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