National Assembly gulps over N1trillion in 8 years - Ezekwesili

The immediate past Vice-President of the World Bank (Africa) and former Minister of Education, Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili, has confirmed the widely held belief that the federal legislature is a drain on the country’s national purse, stating that the National Assembly has between 2005 and 2013 received over N1 trillion.

Ezekwesili made the revelation yesterday in Abuja, at a one-day dialogue session on the cost of governance in Nigeria and review of the Oronsanye Committee Report, organised by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC).

The former minister lampooned the budgetary allocation system in the country, which gives more to recurrent expenditure instead of capital projects.

She reeled out the composition of the 2012 budget with more than 80 per cent allocated to recurrent expenditure, while a paltry 18 per cent was for capital expenditure.
"In the 2012 budget, personnel expenditure alone gulped 44 per cent at N1.81 trillion, overheads was 14 per cent at N590 billion, and debt services of 16 per cent of the budget at N679 billion, while capital expenditure stood at 18 per cent of N744 billion.

"Our lack of development is occasioned by this kind of budget, where capital expenditure is just 18 per cent of the budget, whereas in other developed and developing countries it takes about 60 to 80 per cent of their budgets," she added.
Speaking on the frivolous spending of the federal government, Ezekwesili revealed that in 2005 and 2006 the National Assembly was allocated N54.79 billion respectively, but it rose to N158 billion in 2010 and that the allocation had been steady at N150 billion since 2011.
She said: " Since 2005, the National Assembly has been allocated over N1 trillion...things will improve through part time legislators, as it will also filter the number of people who will go into the National Assembly. You must have means of livelihood and you don't need to depend on public funds. We need to learn more on the good and bad side of it. But, we cannot rule out the possibility."
Ezekwesili also blamed Nigeria's development woes on over-reliance on oil, which encourages laziness, corruption and mismanagement.


I dully commend the former minister for opening this 'can of worms'. She's one of the very very few good and competent public office holders we've had.

My only concern is - Why these ex-ministers-turned-activists never lend their voice and activism to the plight of masses while in power?