Despite over N87.91trn debt, NASS budgets N10bn for recreation centre, carpark

THE National Assembly (NASS) has earmarked N4 billion for a recreation centre and, N3 billion for a car park for the House of Representatives, N3 billion for Senate Car Park, despite Nigeria’s rising debt of over N87.91 trillion.

Nigeria’s rising debt is already creating currency problems for the economy, with the recent Senate approval of N7.3 trillion ‘ways and means’ for debt servicing pushing Nigeria’s economy to a further fiscal cliff.

A holistic assessment of the budget allocations and breakdown showed that N4 billion was allocated for the National Assembly Recreation Centre N4 billion for the Design, construction, furnishing and equipping of the NASS Budget and Research Office (NABRO).

Accordingly, N3 billion was allocated for the procurement of books for the NASS Library; N3 billion for Senate Car Park; N3 billion for the House of Representatives Car Park; N3 billion for an upgrade of NASS key infrastructure; N3 billion for Design, construction, furnishing and equipping of NASS ultramodern printing press; N2.700 billion for furnishing of Committee meeting rooms & others offices within Senate building.

Further assessment of the National Assembly budget revealed that the sum of N78.624 billion is for House of Representatives, N49.145 billion is for Senate; N36.727 billion for the National Assembly Office.

Also, N30.807 billion was allocated for General Services; N20.388 billion for Legislative Aides; N15.189 billion for Service Wide Vote; N15 billion for National Assembly Hospital Project; N12.326 for National Assembly Service Commission (NASC); N12.123 billion for National Assembly Library Complex (Take-off Grant);N10 billion was allocated for ongoing construction of NASC headquarters; N9.008 billion for National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS); N4.500 billion for completion of ongoing NILDS building.

Out of the total sum of N28.7 trillion budget passed, N1.74 trillion is for statutory transfers, N8.27 trillion is for debt service, N8.76 trillion is for recurrent (Non-debt) expenditure while the sum of N9.99 trillion is for contribution to the development fund for capital expenditure for the year ending December 31, 2024.



    Under the Statutory Transfer, National Judicial Council (NJC) got the highest allocation of N341.62 billion; followed by Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) with N338.92 billion; Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC)- N263.044 billion; North East Development Commission (NEDC) – N131.836 billion; Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHPF) – N131.522 billion.

    Further details of the statutory transfers showed that the following allocation: National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) – N131.522 billion; Public Complaint Commission (PPC) – N14.460 billion; and N5 billion for National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) -N40 billion.

    An economic analyst, Kalu Aja, who reacted to the rising debt and the various allocations to Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) in the passed budget by the National Assembly, said, “Nigeria has a spending problem and not a revenue problem.”

    He suggested to the government to seize the momentum of the current reforms(Naira devaluation and fuel subsidy removal) and focus on programmes that would ease the hardship of Nigerians.

    Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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