Nigerian Senators and Members of House of Representatives have been hit by biting liquidity crisis as legislative business comes to a stand still, Elombah.com investigations have shown.
The development has resulted in non payment of August salary of the 469 federal lawmakers and Civil servants in the parliament as at today, 17th September, 2015.
Senator Mao Ohuabunwa ( PDP Abia North), who is also a member of Senate Adhoc Committee on Power in a chat with Journalists unveiled the experience of lawmakers as result cash cruch which has put much expected public hearing on power sector not to hold.
He said the cash crunch has no doubt prevented them as lawmakers over the months from carrying out their legislative functions effectively saying ” we cannot carry out our functions effectively because there is no money in the system”.
He however added that the problem of funding being faced by the National Assembly presently may perhaps be due to the expensiveness of bi- cameral legislature and Infact, presidential system of government , the country is running.
In his words,” 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 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.
“Infact , 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”.
It could be recalled that 2,500 legislative aides of senators and members of the House of Representatives recently staged protest for yet to be paid a single month salary since June this year when their various principals employed them , many of whom are even yet to get their severance gratuity after serving in the 7th National Assembly.
The unpaid allowances according to some of the legislative aides who spoke on condition of anonymity explained that the money covers both severance gratuity and duty tour allowances which ranges from N1.5 to N3m per aide depending on grade levels and steps.