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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

National Assembly to Spend N10m on Cleaning Services Monthly’

The National Assembly will this year spend N240.3m on the cleaning of its Phase III building and another N450.7m on fuelling of generators installed in the premises of the same edifice.

The fuel cost will also cover generators in the Phase 11 of the same building and its Annex I & II complex.

The sums are contained in the details of the 2011 national budget, which is awaiting the approval of the 469-member National Assembly.

The new Phase 111 building and its extension serve as office accommodation for the federal lawmakers whose, “jumbo salaries” have elicited public outcry.

If the N240.3m to be spent on ‘cleaning services’ is spread over the 12 calendar months in this year, keeping the building neat will cost tax payers N10.25m monthly.

Similarly, if the N450.7m budgeted for the purchase of fuel is also spread over the same period, keeping Phases 11 and 111 of the new building as well as Annex I&II Complex lit will cost N37.56m every month.

“Fueling of plants for the New Building II and III and annex I and II complex is to cost N450.7m this year,” part of the details of the proposed expenditure reads.

The details of the budget which our correspondent obtained on Tuesday, also show that “engineering maintenance” for the Phase III building will gulp N601m.

The figure is broken down into N330.5m for the Senate and N270.4m for the House of Representatives.

According to the details, orientation courses for senators and members of the House of Representatives who will form the 7th session of the National Assembly will also cost an estimated N450.77m.

The current 6th session, which was inaugurated on June 5, 2007, will come to a close on June 4 this year.

There are 109 senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives.

If the N450.77m is divided by 469, it means that the National Assembly will spend around N962,000 on each lawmaker participating in the orientation courses.

Findings indicate that the orientation programme is meant for new legislators coming to the National Assembly for the first time, but those re-elected (after the April poll) are also expected to participate.

A National Assembly source confided in The PUNCH in Abuja that the orientation courses involved “teaching legislators, especially the new comers, parliamentary etiquette.”

It was learnt that new comers would be taught the right language to use while “addressing the chair or how to observe the rules of the parliament.”

“In moving a motion for example, or walking in front of the mace, there are procedures to be adopted.

“It is essentially about basic things they need to know on how to approach their duties as lawmakers”, the source added.

However, the budget for the orientation courses is separate from the funds budgeted yearly for “training and re-retraining” of legislators for the four years in a tenure.

The Senate budgeted N1.7bn for “consulting and professional services” in 2010, besides a separate expenditure of N58m on “generator fuel.”

Another expenditure of N450m on “maintenance of White House and Annex I & II” was incurred in 2010.

The House of Representatives had a total budget of N2.44bn on “maintenance and general issues” in 2010, in addition to N460.6m it spent on fuelling.

“Fumigation” cost N100m, while another sub-head on “cleaning and gardening” had a provision of N200m in 2010.

Coiled Out of The Punch New Paper.