The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Tuesday pledged that the budget of the National Assembly will be made public in 2017.
Mr. Dogara stated this at an interactive session with newspaper editors at his office in Abuja.
“We will definitely open the books,” he said, while expressing concern about the focus of Nigerians on the lawmakers’ budget which has been kept secret since 2011.
He said he believed that a lot of Nigerians have a wrong perception about the National Assembly’s N115 billion budget, which he said was about two per cent of the total Nigerian budget.
The speaker said contrary to some beliefs, the National Assembly’s allocation is not meant for the lawmakers alone.
“We have over 3,000 members of the bureaucracy, all from this 115 billion budget,” he said.
He listed agencies, individuals and institutions that benefit from the allocation to include the National Assembly Service Commission, National Institute for Legislative Studies, Public Complaint Commission, National Assembly Budget and Research Office and legislative aides.
Mr. Dogara said he was aware that allocations to legislative aides for salaries, allowances and others gulped about N12 billion in previous budgets.
He said detailed allocations to each of these beneficiaries from the National Assembly’s budget will be made public along with the 2017 budget when passed.
“It will be published. With this 2017 budget, everything will be resolved,” he said. “I can guarantee that.”
Mr. Dogara said the lawmakers were also interested in making the budget public so as to make Nigerians have a better perception of them.
“We want to improve on standards,” he said. “We want to improve on the image of the National Assembly”.