The Nigerian Senate has vowed to punish Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, over his comments that the National Assembly consumes 25 percent of Nigeria’s annual budget.
This was as the Upper House which summoned the CBN boss to defend his position warned Sanusi to watch his tongue.
Senate also demanded a retraction and an apology from Sanusi for his comments which it described as a gross display of ignorance of the nation’s finances by the CBN boss.
He is to appear before the Senate on Wednesday.
It will be recalled that Sanusi at 8th convocation lecture of Igbinedion University, Okada, blamed the nation’s economic troubles on the poor leadership provided by political leaders who lacked the ability to lead the country to the Promised Land.
He reprimanded the National Assembly for contributing in no small way to the lack of visible development in Nigeria.
Speaking on the topic, “The Future of Nigeria’s Economy”, he said as long as a quarter of the nation’s annual budget goes to the National Assembly as allowances and salaries, it will be difficult for the nation to achieve any meaningful development with the remaining 75 percent, in view of the numerous challenges facing the nation.
But Senate yesterday dismissed Sanusi’s claim as false and another calculated attempt to tarnish the image of the National Assembly.
Spokesman of the Senate, Ayogu Eze at a news briefing insisted that no senator earns more than N950, 000 monthly even as he put the 2010 National Assembly budget at less than N158.9 billion.
Eze said the budget of the National Assembly represents only 3.3 percent of the N4.4trillion budget for the 2010 fiscal year. He said the CBN was completely wrong in his calculation and would therefore have to appear before the Senate to ‘explain his position’.
He said: “I want to state categorically that the statement credited to Sanusi that the National Assembly takes 25 percent of the annual budget is not true.
“The total budget figure for the year 2010 as amended is N4.4 trillion. That is the entire budget of the federation. And the entire budget of the National Assembly, including the Senate, the House of Representatives, the National Assembly Service Commission, our legislative aides and all the entire current and capital expenditure for the year 2010 is N158.9 billion.
“If you reduce this to mathematics, what we have is N4.427 trillion for the entire federation and what the National Assembly gets is N0.158 trillion which is 3.5 percent of the entire budget of the federation. So where did the mathematics of the 25 percent come from?
“I think that this is not only mischievous, it is calculated attempt to tarnish the image and reputation of the National Assembly, and it is part of the orchestrated assault, verbal and sometime physical against the National Assembly by some misinformed people who do not wish the National assembly well.
“Otherwise, I do not see how that kind of figure can be bandied about by the governor of the CBN, if it is true that he said so, when he is supposed to be in a position to gauge and hold the reins of the fiscal health of this country. It is very embarrassing.
“I think that Nigerians have the right to say what they want to say, but they need to know that one’s person’s right stops where the other person’s right begins and I think, if you want to criticize somebody, do not hang anything on the institution simply because you want to drag the institution down.
“This is pure fallacy. I do not know where this fabrication is coming from and he did say that the National Assembly has taken 25 percent of all the overhead cost. And I want to state that the total over head cost of the federation is N2, 137, 574, 700, 030. So even if you look at the whole budget of the national assembly as a percentage of the entire recurrent of the federation, you cannot get 25 percent no matter how you push this figure. So I do not know where this figure is coming from.
“My instinct is to believe that Sanusi was misquoted and if he was not misquoted, we expect that he should retract this very fallacious and very damaging report with an apology because he does not have a foundation in facts. I expect that Nigerians should be able always to ask questions and be critical when facts are presented to them.
“If you have a budget of N4.4 trillion, somebody takes N0.1 trillion of that budget, does that make it 25 percent? I think this is most unfair and in the National Assembly we have been doing our best to stabilize this democracy; we have been contributing our own quota, but I think that there are people somewhere whose duty is to pull down the National Assembly and we believe that this is not healthy and this is not fair,” Eze noted.
Source: The Champion