JUMBO PAY: REPS DISAGREE WITH SANUSI OVER FIGURES
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
The House of Representatives yesterday faulted the figures used by the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi to arrive at a conclusion that the National Assembly consumed 25 per cent of the nation's resources.
Sanusi had insisted that he acted on the figures supplied by the Budget Office that the N536 billion budgeted for the overhead of the National Assembly in 2010 represented 25 per cent of the N536 billion overall overhead budget of the government.
But in a paper presentation before the House Joint Committee of the Leadership and the Committees on Appropriation, Finance, Banking and Currency, Drugs and Narcotics, Sanusi quoted N814 billion, whereas, in the national budget, only N1.3 trilion was voted as overhead for the National Assembly which represents 8.7 per cent of the total budget.
The governor, who was led before the panel, chaired by the Minority Leader, Ali Ndume, by Presidential Liaison Officer to the National Assembly, Dr. Cairo Ojuogbi, maintained that the altercations generated by the comments was needless, adding that he was just pointing out that the continued flogging of the matter could sent a wrong signal that the National Assembly was intolerant of criticisms.
He said his primary motive of making the comments was to caution relevant authorities against high recurrent expenditures and not to malign the National Assembly as being severally perceived.
Said he: 'What I said at the lecture was that the bulk of the nation's expenditure was on recurrent and the aspect of the National Assembly was just a sentence out of a 35page presentation.
'Between 2009 and 2010 recurrent expenditure grew from N2.1 billion to N1.5 trillion with reduction in capital expenditure; overheads are rising faster than any other components with its inflationary implications. In 2008, overhead rose by 21 per cent, it went up by 25 per cent in 2009 and over 30 per cent in the 2010 budget.'
For the umpteenth time, he insisted that he got his information from the Budget Office and informed the lawmakers that his worry actually was based on the over-bloated recurrent expenditures of the government at the detriment of the capital budgets.
Confirming the originality of his adopted figure, Sanusi maintained; 'I rely on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) laid before the National Assembly where the overhead proposal was N536.27 billion. The document was made by the Budget Office, endorsed by the Ministry of Finance, approved by the Federal Executive Council and submitted to the National Assembly.'
But Ndume and other committee members argued that the document available to the lawmakers was basically the amended budget with the two supplementary budgets passed by the National Assembly and assented to by the President.
He pointed out that the total overhead in the three documents was N1.3trillion out of which the sum of N136trillion was made as National Assembly overhead including the bureaucracy.
The Minority Leader Ndume noted that the same document submitted by Sanusi quoted N814.6 as the national overhead even as he asked why the CBN governor chose to adopt N536.27 when it was obvious that there are conflicting figures in the document presented.
The lawmakers argued that Sanusi ought to have adopted the figures passed in the budget and put the percentage of National Assembly overhead at 8.9percent instead of misleading the public by adopting a lower figure.
They decried a situation where about 75percent of the national budget goes into servicing of public officials who represent about 2percent of the nation's population.
The handling of the CBN governor however did not go down well with some members of the ad-hoc panel, who left the venue with anger.