The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rt. Hon. Abbas Tajudeen, Ph.D, has disclosed that the annual budget of the National Assembly has been stagnant for 13 years despite inflation and attendant consequences.
The Speaker said that notwithstanding, the expenditure of the federal legislature has gone up within the period, but without the commensurate budgetary provisions to back it up.
Speaker Abbas said this when he received, during a courtesy visit, a delegation from the African Business Roundtable in Abuja on Wednesday.
“Our budget has been stagnant for 13 years, but our expenditure has gone up within the period. In fact, at some points, the National Assembly budget came down from what it used to be in 2011,” the Speaker told the delegation led by the Executive Director (West Africa), Mr. Dotun Ajayi
Speaker Abbas said the 10th House had created over 60 parliamentary friendship committees to enhance the relationship between the House and other parliaments across the world.
He said the friendship committees needed the support from outside to function efficiently, noting that the House would support any cause that would lead to enhanced relationships with other parliaments.
“I am pleased to inform you that the House has thought about what you’re talking about several months ago. On July 27, we announced membership of 43 parliamentary friendship committees to find ways of improving our relations in terms of business and other aspects with them.
“Two weeks ago, we increased it from 43 to 65. Just yesterday, we also included Serbia, making it 66,” he said.
Speaker Abbas told the delegation: “We are with you on this issue (engagements with other parliaments). This is noble. Even before you came, we thought about that.
“I want to assure you that we’ll engage more with you. This meeting will be a historic one which will be a point of reference in the future. We will pursue it with all the energy we have.”
Earlier, Mr. Ajayi said the recent coup in Niger Republic brought a new dimension to the engagements between some European countries and West Africa.
He noted that Niger has problems with only France in Europe, whereas the French government was planning to cut all forms of assistance to West Africa due to the coup.
“The President has been playing some roles behind the scene on this. The parliament needs to be seen to work with him on this. Our Parliament should engage the French Parliament and the EU.”
He said the European Union has set aside 20 billion Euros for the Sub-Saharan Africa, noting, “We want to see a situation where your engagement increases what comes to Nigeria.
“We’re proposing an engagement between you and your members for a partnership between you and the EU, as well as the French Parliament.”