Nigerian Senators and House of Representatives members are yet to receive their salaries for the month of August, it has been reported.
The report by Leadership is an indication that the economic melt down in the country has hit the National Assembly, and has rendered them ‘cashless’.
According to one of the senators, the cash down turn is also largely responsible for crippling of oversight activities of already set up committees across the two chambers.
A member of the Senate’s Ad- hoc committee on power, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa ( PDP Abia North), in an interview with journalists on the activities of the committee, had revealed that the much anticipatedhearing on power sector cannot hold for now due to non availability of funds to run it.
“We cannot carry out our functions effectively because there is no money in the system,” he said, adding however, that the cash challenges being experienced by the National Assembly may also be as a result of the expensive nature of bi- cameral legislature and by extension, presidential system of government which the country is presently running.
“Part of the problems we are facing now, is the problem of funding. I want to tell you outright because he who wears the shoe , knows where it pinches, our major problem now, is funding.
“There is no money in the system. Isolate the running of the parliament from parliamentarians . Isolate the cost of running of parliament from the parliamentarians in it. Running the parliament is expensive, presidential system of government in particular with bi- cameral legislature is an expensive part of democracy , so you can’t eat your cake and have it.
“So, now people keep saying how much is the budget of the parliament , amount of salaries of the lawmakers etcetera, forgetting that there are several sub- heads in the parliament . Infact, now, we cannot do our job effectively . We cannot do our functions effectively because there is no money.
“For example, we were supposed to start the public hearing on the power sector on the 11th of this month, but we couldn’t because of lack of money. The idea was to have stakeholders meeting , the just ended interactive session for 2, 3 days from 8- 10 September, then 11th, we start the public hearing which supposed to end on the 15th day of September, 2015, but unfortunately we cannot do that because there is no money in the system to run the committee and perform our functions effectively.
“So what we have decided for now is to mellow down a bit till when the senate resumes for plenary sessions and see how we can raise money but before then, we believe money must have been released into the system.
“In fact, as it is today(Wednesday ), we have not collected our August Salary as federal lawmakers and by extension, the entire legislative staff of the federal lawmakers .
“Look at me here, I’ve not had August salary and this is 16th of September, 2015, but we don’t cry because we represent the people but that is the truth, am not telling you day by moonlight story, am telling you what is actually on ground,” Ohuabunwa lamented.
The issue of lawmakers’ salaries and allowances had generated an uproar after their inauguration few months ago, as Nigerians noted that their earnings were too much and should be slashed.
And only recently, some aides to federal legislators protested the non-payment of their salaries, a further indication that the National Assembly is presently broke.