The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has disclosed that the National Assembly is grappling to meet its statutory obligations due to a lack of funds.
This, he noted, is despite the perception and criticisms that the legislature is overfunded.
Speaking when he paid a working visit to the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) on Wednesday, Saraki said the legislature has experienced funding challenges in the last few years.
Details of the visit were made available yesterday by Saraki’s Special Assistant on Print Media, Mr. Chuks Okocha,
According to the statement, Saraki made the comments while responding to requests for the funding of a permanent office block for the service commission in the National Assembly.
“One of the things that I see here today is the issue of budgetary constraints. However, the impression around the country is often that the National Assembly has too much money. But we have seen the challenges of the last few years. As we work through the number of bills passed, the public hearings held, and the number of ad-hoc committees that have been established — we know the challenges of not being able to fund some of our activities,” Saraki said.
“So far, I am happy to report that despite these constraints, the 8th Senate has been able to surpass all previous Senates in the number of bills that we have passed in two years despite the funding gaps. We know that as we continue over time, people will begin to have more confidence in the National Assembly. However, right now, the challenges that we have are the issue of perception, and the issue of funding. We need to work hard to change this,” Saraki added.
He lamented that Nigerians have not appreciated the role of the legislature in governance.
“Therefore, we all have a lot of work in trying to make the people appreciate the role of the legislature in our democracy,” Saraki said.
“This has not been easy, this is why I am sure that working with the Commission, we can work towards this together so that we can improve the image of the National Assembly.”
Earlier, the Chairman of the NASC, Dr. Adamu Fika, lamented that the commission still operates from a rented apartment with the attendant cost.
He enjoined the leadership of the National Assembly to come to its aid by supporting it to build a befitting permanent office within the National Assembly complex.