Senate President Bukola Saraki says in spite of the widespread perception that the national assembly is being overfunded, it is actually grappling with funding constraints in exercising its statutory functions.
According to Chuks Okocha, special assistant to the senate president on print media, Saraki said this when he paid a working visit to the chairman and members of the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC), at the temporary office of the commission in Utako, Abuja, on Thursday.
Responding to the request of Adamu Fika, chairman of the commission, to have a permanent office of the commission inside the national assembly complex, Saraki pledged the support of the leadership towards the project.
He, however, noted that adequate funding remained the major challenge facing the national assembly.
“One of the things that I see here is the issue of budgetary constraints,” he said.
“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.
“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, who is also the chairman of the national assembly, said it had not been easy for Nigerians to appreciate the various roles of the legislature as an arm of government being the youngest of the three arms of government.
Earlier, Fika lamented that the commission still operated 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.(thecable)