The Nigeria Labour Congress on Thursday said the reduction of salaries announced by the President, the Vice President and some state governors is not an answer to the problem of high cost of governance in the country. President of the NLC, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, made the comment during a courtesy visit to the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki. Wabba added that the reduction in the budget of the National Assembly from N150bn to N115bn would not solve the problem of the rising cost of governance.
He said Nigerians, who are worried by the abominable increase in the cost of governance, were in need of explanations for the astronomical increase in the budget of the National Assembly from N23. 3bn in 2003 to N154.2bn in 2014. The NLC President also called for a more transparent execution of the National Assembly annual budget. He recalled that the budget for the National Assembly for 2011 was shrouded in secrecy because the lawmakers used their influence to move it into in the first line charge in the Federation Account.
Wabba said there was no explanation on how the N150bn, appropriated for the federal lawmakers in 2010 was spent. He recommended that the Senate, under the leadership of Saraki, would adopt measures to end the controversy surrounding the allowances of National Assembly members. He said, “Your Excellency, you need not be told that we are again back to poor revenue from our main source of foreign exchange – crude oil.
This combined with the excesses of our political elite in the mismanagement of our national resources, has once again come to question the issue of the high cost of governance in the country. “In response to this, some state governors have reduced their salaries by 50 per cent and the President and Vice President recently joined by ordering that their salaries should also be reduced by 50 per cent.
The National Assembly has also acted by reducing its annual budget from N150bn to N115bn as a symbolic gesture that our legislators are in tune with our austere measures. “For the legislature, Your Excellency, Nigerians are concerned and want explanations on how the National Assembly budget, which in 2003 was N23.347bn, rose to N66.488bn in 2007, and then climbed to N104.825bn in 2008. “In 2010, Your Excellency, under the watch of your predecessor, the budget of the NA reached an all-time jump to N154.2bn.”