Following the induction into office of the 8th National Assembly, some Senators-elect have advocated for a review of the cost of governance, describing the present high cost of governance as unacceptable.
Speaking to The Punch in separate interviews in Abuja, Senator-elect, Ben Bruce, PDP, Bayelsa East, deemed it improper that the National Assembly consumes three percent of the national budget.
He said: “If a company’s management spends 88 percent of its income to run the organisation, it will collapse. So, government in Nigeria at the moment is inefficient. It is now time to talk about how to reduce the cost of running the government.
“First, only the President and Vice – President must fly first class. Members of the senate, governors and ministers should fly business class. Everyone else should fly economy class. Commissioners, permanent secretaries, everybody else, should fly economy.
“When you go abroad as public servant, you stay in Holiday Inn, which is just about $200 a night. At the moment civil servants travel out of the country on official assignment and sleep in hotels worth $4,000 a night. Any government official who sleeps in such hotels should go to jail.”
Bruce further revealed that “The amount being spent on overseas treatment is enough to build a modern hospital that would be of international standard in each state capital”.
“I am bringing a bill to that effect and I will publish names of any of my colleagues who voted against it. We will deal with them.
“I will also move a motion that all allocation accruable to the federal parliament should be published and any of my colleagues who oppose it will have his names, phone numbers, addresses and pictures published.
“Nigerians would see them and ask them why they voted against the poor. Why should a government official ride N50m jeep when they can make do with N2m Kia vehicle? The police are protecting the rich when the poor are suffering insecurity.”
In the same manner, Senator-elect, Dino Melaye, APC, Kogi West, vowed to champion the cause for a cut in the allowances payable to lawmakers after their inauguration in June.
Melaye said: “I am actually championing the cause of a cut in our pay. There is a need to cut down our pay because if we talk about change, there is the need to demonstrate that change. We must sacrifice as legislators.
“Nigerians are going through a perilous time. That change is to cut down our own pay and remuneration. So instead of increasing our earning, we should enhance the committees to start proper oversight functions.
“The satanic collaboration between the executive and the legislature would not be there. When we are going for oversight function, you don’t need the MDAs to provide logistics for our movement.
“I think that should be taken seriously and everyone who means well for this country should support the cut in pay to legislators. The 8th senate should take their oversight function very seriously; fight corruption, check the executive and check themselves also.”