The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, to cut down the 2024 National Assembly budget, which stands at N344.85 billion.
Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP Deputy Director, made this call in a statement on Sunday.
According to SERAP, the call is necessary following the current economic realities in the country and the need to cut the cost of governance.
SERAP faulted the arbitrary increase of the 2024 Budget by the National Assembly.
The group said the National Assembly should ask President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to present a fresh supplementary appropriation bill to reflect a reduced National Assembly allocation.
“The arbitrary increase by the lawmakers of their own budgetary allocation if not cut would have significant fiscal consequences and exacerbate the country’s debt crisis.
“SERAP urges you to clarify why N225 million is budgeted for the National Assembly E-Library and N3 billion is budgeted to buy books for the National Assembly Library while the ‘take-off grant’ for the National Assembly Library is N12.1 billion.
“The budget of N344.48 billion by members of the National Assembly is a fundamental breach of the Nigerian Constitution and the country’s international human rights obligations.
“According to our information, the National Assembly increased its own allocation in the 2024 budget to N344.48 billion. The new budgetary allocation to the National Assembly is over 70 per cent of the N197 billion proposed by President Bola Tinubu for the lawmakers in the budget proposal submitted to the National Assembly.
“The N344.48 billion National Assembly budget, which is an increase of about N147 billion, is reportedly the highest-ever budgetary allocation to the National Assembly,” SERAP said.
The development comes as President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, two weeks ago, signed the N28.7 trillion 2024 budget into law.
Recall that the lawmakers had raised the N27.5 trillion 2024 budget proposed by President Tinubu to N28.7 trillion.