By EricJames Ochigbo
The House of Representatives says it is broke and cannot afford to carry out its constitutional mandate effectively.
Rep. Benjamin Kalu (APC-Abia), spokesman for the House, said this when he spoke with newsmen on Thursday in Abuja.
The lawmaker said the budget of the National Assembly should be reviewed upward to enable it cope with the situation.
“Yes the house is broke, I have said it before and I am saying it again and I am not afraid of saying it.
“This is the fact, until Nigerians believe that the appropriation that was made for the running of the National Assembly which was done when exchange rate of naira to dollar was 180 is less now than what it used to be.
“The dollar equivalent today has gone up to over N400, the purchasing power of the budget as it is now, is weaker than it was 10 years ago,” he said.
Kalu said that he had fought with the leadership of the house and has asked the question: “Why are you afraid to raise the budget of the National Assembly that will enable us conduct our services efficiently and effectively?
“We appropriate for agencies to run effectively and yet, we are in penury trying to run our own constitutional mandate, it is a disservice to Nigerians and the poor budget of the parliament is a disservice to Nigerians,” he said.
The spokesman explained that the N128 billion appropriated for the National Assembly was divided among all the agencies in the parliament about 6,000 members of staff and lawmakers aides.
Kalu said that legislators needed professional experts to work with them to produce laws and motion that would address the needs of the people.
“If you go to U.S., you see professors who are consulting and working directly with members of parliament,” he said.