- Says governor only published state expenditure
…. Austin Obande
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has upped the ante in the ongoing battle of transparency and accountability between the legislative and executive arms of government by releasing his pay slip for the past six months from October 2016 to March 2017.
Dogara through the National Assembly, Chairman, House Of Representatives Committee on Media and Publicity, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, at a briefing in Abuja, accused the Governor of Kaduna State Mallam Nasir el-Rufai of being insincere with his declaration.
El-Rufai had on Monday published a snippet of expenditure in Kaduna state including the salaries and wages of government staffs.
But the Speaker has expressed dissatisfaction with the level of disclosure by the former Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and challenged him to release his personal security vote and not that of the state.
Dogara also went a step further to reveal his six months’ payslip with a net pay is N346, 577.87.
The breakdown of the salary shows that the basic pay is N205, 425.83; Constituency Allowance is N176, 461.56 and Recess Allowance is put at N20, 842, 58. The slips also show deduction of N55, 902.60 for Pay as You Earn and the Sum of N140, 000 as APC deduction.
In the same vein, Namdas who spoke on behalf of the House of Representatives, recalled that the Speaker on Friday April 7, 2017 in response to calls by Kaduna State Governor Mallam Nasir el-Rufai disclosed that the leadership of the National Assembly had directed the bureaucracy and all other agencies under the National Assembly to make available details of their annual budgets beginning from 2017 budget which is still under consideration in the parliament.
He said: “Nigerians may further recall that the Rt. Hon. Speaker requested Kaduna State Governor, el-Rufai who is known for his consistent advocacy for openness in the budget of the National Assembly, to, in the spirit of good governance, transparency and accountability extend his campaign to other arms and tiers of government beginning from the Judiciary, to State Governments and Local Governments.
“The Speaker specifically urged Malam el-Rufai who has been championing this cause to impress on his colleagues (governors) to disclose their Security votes and also publish what they do with local government funds under their jurisdictions.”
“We note that what Malam el-Rufai published was the security budget of Kaduna State and not his security vote expenditure as such” he added.
He stressed that the call by the Speaker was for Malam El-Rufai to extend his advocacy on transparency and accountability to other arms and tiers of government in order to remove the lid of secrecy that has beclouded expenditures at the state level led by his colleagues especially on their security votes and not the states’ security budget.
The House Spokesperson advised the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai to concentrate his efforts in Governing Kaduna State and stop undermining and distracting the National Assembly in playing its constitutionally assigned role in nation building.
“He launched an attack on the National Assembly on Friday, 7th April, 2017 and continued on Monday 10th April 2017. We are aware that there are serious security issues he should be grappling with in Southern Kaduna and other governmental issues facing him. He should not give the impression that he has no challenging work to do in Kaduna State. These attacks are coming on the heels of his now famous letter to Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, where he made strenuous effort to undermine his government, by openly lampooning him when he has unhindered access to His Excellency, Mr. President. As a senior citizen, he has a responsibility not to unnecessarily overheat the polity with tendentious and unfounded outbursts”, Namdas said.
He said the National Assembly Budget is not opaque, adding that since 2010 when the Constitution was amended and National Assembly was placed on the first line charge, its budget became part of Statutory Transfers, together with the Judiciary, INEC and others.
Namdas said the leadership of the National Assembly has already directed the Clerk to the National Assembly to publish details of the National Assembly Budget from 2017 and so to continue to repeat the same call made 3days earlier smacks of propaganda and cheap blackmail.
Namdas said: “The Kaduna State Governor chose to give headings of its budget on security related matters. Maybe he will give further details of actual security expenditures at the appropriate time. He claimed that the State’s accounts have been audited. No grounds have been broken here.
“The response by the Kaduna State Governor completely missed the point. Mr. Speaker’s call was for el-Rufai to extend the campaign for openness and transparency to other arms of government, including the Governors’ expenditures on security votes and Local Government funds. He merely doubled down on his campaign on National Assembly Budget leaving out the other aspects of Mr. Speaker’s request.”