• Saturday, April 20, 2024
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BusinessDay

National assembly blows ₦280bn as states struggle with dwarf 2023 budgets

While millions struggle under tight state budgets, Nigeria’s 469-member National Assembly indulged in a staggering ₦280 billion spending spree in 2023.

This figure, obtained by BusinessDay, shows the dwarf budgets of 19 individual states, leaving Nigerians questioning the priorities and extravagance of their elected representatives.

States like Ekiti, with a population of over 3.5 million, managed a mere ₦202 billion, while Bauchi, with over 8 million residents, had to make do with a meagre ₦122 billion. These comparisons paint a picture of legislative largesse amid widespread economic hardship.

Nigeria’s bicameral legislature, comprising the 360-member House of Representatives and the 109-seat Senate, has long been a target for criticism over its seemingly insatiable appetite for funds. In 2010, the then-Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi raised eyebrows by claiming the National Assembly gulped down 25% of the national budget.

The trend continues, with 2023 witnessing a significant jump from the ₦134 billion spent in 2022.
This ballooning budget has fueled calls for a drastic overhaul, with many advocating for a single, leaner legislative body. Critics point to the recent ₦57.6 billion SUV purchase for lawmakers as a prime example of misplaced priorities, particularly amidst rising living costs.

However, the National Assembly has continuously defended its spending, citing the need to maintain its legislative functions and support its numerous administrative staff and aides.

This budget disparity has ignited public anger, with many Nigerians feeling their elected officials prioritise their comfort over the welfare of the people they represent.