On Wednesday, June 3, 2020, PUNCH reported that the Federal Government had allocated N27.7bn for the renovation of the National Assembly.
This latest figure comes from the 2020 revised budget. In the original budget, the figure was N37bn. Despite the slash, there has been an outcry from everyday Nigerians and celebrities alike that such a huge amount cannot be allocated to renovation.
In the 2020 revised budget, education and health took huge cuts. The primary health care centres’ fund was slashed from N44.4bn to N25.5bn; and UBE from N111.7bn to N51.1bn.
Critics have pointed to the fact that the money earmarked for the renovation should have been added to education or health budgets.
COVID-19 has had a great financial impact on the Nigerian government and while the FG has to cut its coat according to its material, it is hard to defend such a huge expense for the renovation of the National Assembly.
On the flip side, the fund allocated for the renovation of the National Assembly had already been earmarked months before the COVID-19 pandemic stepped into the world stage.
Before this allocation, Nigerian lawmakers and frequent guests of the National Assembly had complained about the poor state of the complex. There were numerous reports of bad audio systems, poorly kept toilets and a robbery within the complex.
It might just be that the National Assembly building needs to be fixed and the timing just happens to fall at a bad time.
Whatever the case may be, Nigerians have a negative perception of its lawmakers due to the belief that they do not work for the common man and they earn fat salaries.
There are two strong sides to this topic – do you feel the renovation is wasteful spending or a necessary expenditure?