‘We’re getting broke’ — Reps seek more allocation

The House of Representatives says it is struggling with funds to carry out its responsibilities.

Speaking with journalists in Abuja, Benjamin Kalu, spokesman of the lower legislative chamber, said the responsibilities of lawmakers are bigger than their budget.

This is despite the national assembly’s budget of N128 bullion for 2020, which is higher than the N125 billion appropriated for the parliament in 2019.

There have been calls that monetary allocations to the national assembly be reduced.

But Kalu said Nigerians think so because “many are not aware” of the nature of the national assembly’s functions.

“The impression out there is not true. The house of representatives is struggling with funds because the activities of the house are bigger than the budget. This is the fact,” he said at the media briefing at the weekend.

“The activities are many while the funding is small. Many will not like to hear this, but this is the truth. The speaker and the leadership are struggling to manage all the responsibilities of the house with the available resources. You will agree with me that the ability to harness available resources to meet a definite goal is the definition of management

“We are not even talking of the representatives’ functions that have to do with constituency projects. Let us focus on making laws and doing our oversight functions. The money is not enough.

“So, if any committee says we are struggling, it is because there is no money, and not because the leadership does not want to give them money. It is because they are trying to manage what they have and their scale of preference determines who they fund.”

He said the house committees often do complain of a lack of funds for oversight functions, and that as a lawmaker, he is yet to get even a computer from the federal government.

“I will still join my voice with the voices of those who are sincerely asking for more funds for the operation of the national assembly. I say that, not wanting to know how the public will react, because many of them react in ignorance,” he added.

“When it is the house of representatives, everyone screams without taking time to do critical analysis but with biases. It is time high we changed the narrative and began to let the people know the truth.

“I have been in my office since I resumed and I don’t have a computer from the government to do my job. This is the fact. All my aides don’t have facilities to do their jobs. They keep rationing these funds because it is the much we can do.”

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