Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has challenged Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State to extend his campaign for transparency in the budget of the National Assembly to other arms of government, including how governors spend their security votes.
Speaking while closing a retreat for management of the National Assembly in Kaduna yesterday, Mr Dogara also challenged the Governors to, in the spirit of accountability and transparency, publish how they utilise funds allocated to local governments.
The Speaker, while reacting to an earlier speech by Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai, who urged the legislature to make its budget public, disclosed that already, the bureaucracy has been directed to publish the National Assembly budget beginning from 2017.
“I will like to challenge him (El-Rufai) to champion this cause for transparency in the budgetary process from the National Assembly to other arms of government. The Judiciary first. We want to see clearly how Chief Executives of States… how they are paid. What do they spend monthly as security votes, and if they can publish what happens to local government funds under their jurisdictions. That will help our discussion going forward,” he said.
Acknowledging the challenges faced by the management of the federal legislature, Mr Dogara stressed that the National Assembly is the most misunderstood institution and that no parliament in the world can win popularity contest and Nigeria’s National Assembly is not an exception.
“When, for instance, public discussions on funding of the legislature are being made, the entire bureaucracy is often completely discountenanced, neither is any consideration given to the fact that this is a special bureaucracy saddled with a multitude of ‘masters’ who must be equally served in addition to service to the nation,” he explained.
The Speaker said the Nigeria Civil Service will begin to record progress when it breaks away from its usual tradition to new ways of carrying out its functions and administration. He said that for there to be productivity in the workforce, there must be innovation, which is borne out of motivation of staff through rewards such as promotions based on merit.
The Speaker commended the visionary leadership approach of the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Ataba Sani-Omolori, for the swift manner in which he was able to undertake a management needs assessment of the institution, which is the basis for the retreat.