The National Assembly appears to be experiencing severe cash crunch, plunging it into a soggy debt mess.
According to reports, Nigeria’s upper and lower legislative chambers is facing serious financial difficulty as a result of its huge debt amounting billions of naira.
The debts were reportedly owed contractors for the supply of office facilities, vehicles, and maintenance costs among others.
Inability of the National Assembly management to pay off the accumulated debts has caused contractors and suppliers to gripe.
Reports say the situation has forced the National Assembly management to cut down running costs including a 70% pay cut on salaries of legislative aides.
A National Assembly source said some of the debts were incurred through contracts that might not have been executed.
According to the source:
“It is a yearly occurrence.
“There are huge debts, no doubt. They’re still in the process of compiling.”
A legislative aide who spoke on conditions of anonymity said:
“The situation is so worrisome that the new Clerk to the National Assembly, Alhaji Mohammed Sani-Omolori has demanded for the comprehensive details of the debts profile.
“You’ll be shocked if you know the monumental corruption taking place in the management of the National Assembly.
“They change office equipment every year on paper, but you don’t get to see anything.
“You can imagine even the maintenance being carried out by Julius Berger at the time was done on credit.
“It was because of the way they were going about the whole thing that Berger backed out from the contract of maintaining the NASS complex.
“There are a lot of things my brother. Some of them would raise fake vouchers just to divert the money.
“Somebody would say he has travelled to somewhere, whereas he was in his house.
“They also have ghost workers among the NASS staff, but because nobody probes them, people don’t get to know.
“With this kind of things, how do you expect the country to change?”
Confirming the situation, a top management staff said they had stopped awarding major contracts.
National Assembly In Huge Debt Mess
He said the debt was affecting the lawmakers whom he added were not getting what they used to get before.
He however, disclosed that the National Assembly was not the only arm of government owing.
According to him, the executive and Judiciary owe also.
The National Assembly management staff revealed that the situation was made worse by the slashing down of the NASS budget from N150billion to N115 billion.
The budget of the National Assembly was N23.347 billion in 2003.
It went up to as much as N150 billion for four years (2010 to 2013) but was slashed to N120 billion in 2014 and N115 billion in 2015 and 2016.
Spokesperson of the Senate, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, when contacted, said he was not aware of the huge debt.
He claimed not to know anything about the debt mess as it wasn’t an issue.
According to him:
“…After all, what is the total debt stock of Nigeria? There is no how an institution or country will not owe.
“The United States is the most heavily indebted nation. You should please concentrate on issues that would contribute in the development of the country.”
More revelations to follow shortly.