Reps ask presidency to reduce political office holders’ salaries

The leadership of the House of Representatives on Thursday urged the presidency to accede to public outcry for the reduction of salaries of political office holders in the country.

Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Benjamin Kalu who gave the House position during his weekly press briefing on the ongoing 2020 budget performance and 2021 budget defence, assured that various Standing Committees are expected to submit reports on the MDAs’ budget defence as from next Wednesday.

According to him, “the 0.8% of the national budget for the National Assembly is not enough to run the institution. If you want to cut salaries, expenses, cost of governance, start it from the executive. That’s the truth because the 0.8% you’re talking about takes care of the Senate, people think that the money that comes to the National Assembly is divided by members of the House of Representatives, that’s a wrong narrative being sold there and that’s what Nigerians believe.

“That’s why my office is actually engaging on what’s called infographics that are going to be released very soon. That will break it down once members approve it so that you know where everything goes into. And Nigerians will be shocked that people they thought were rich, are not able to meet there needs and that’s the truth.

“It’s high time we start at the 99.902 percent of the national budget and stop focusing on the 0.8 percent of the National Assembly. Nigerians are not focusing on that rather they’ve been conditioned to focus on the 0.8%, is that not deceitful?

“Nigerians need to change their focus and find out what’s happening to that 99.02%, once we do that you will see the truth will start coming out, and even the Executive will know there’s need to cut down the expenses. Today in the course of engaging these agencies, I found out that the impact of Covid-19 which ordinarily is supposed to change the dynamics, including our cost structure because you know Covid affected the revenue of the country and also introduced efficient use of technology.

“Innovation that’s supposed to reduce the cost of governance has not been welcomed by most of the MDAs. Today, I asked them why are you still engaging in the traditional travels, spend millions travelling locally in a year; when innovation like zoom can enable you to hold some of your meetings? Why can’t the Executive apply that and embrace technology to reduce the cost of governance,” he stressed.

While responding to question on the January to December budget cycle, Hon. Kalu said: ”You’ve have been following the events in regards to this budget. We are committed to meeting up with the budget calendar to make sure that by January Nigeria will have a new budget to work with.

“So all we’ve been doing is to meet up with the January to December calendar and I want to thank the members of various committees for their dedication. The House gave each of them a deadline and most of them will start turning in their report from Wednesday next week.”

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