Is the Nigeria’s House of Representatives really broke?

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House of Representatives spokesman Benjamin Kalu says the Lower Chamber is broke and was indebted to its contractors for various services as a result of the cash crunch.

Speaking during his weekly press briefing on the activities of the House, Kalu, who represents Bende Federal Constituency of Abia State, dismissed insinuations that the Senate was deliberately slowing down the process of according concurrence to Bills passed by the House.

Affirming the current financial condition of the Lower Chamber, Kalu said: “Yes, the House is broke. I have said it before and I am saying it again. I am not afraid to say it. The House is broke and it is afraid to appropriate sufficient amount needed for members to do their job. The House is broke and is afraid of your complaints as Nigerians to make provision for what will make them run the activities of the House effectively.

“That is why the hearing rooms are not fixed. That is why the House is indebted to contractors who provide one form of service or the other. This is the fact.

“Nigerians must understand that the appropriation that was made for the running of the National Assembly, which happened when our currency was N160 to the dollar, is less now than what it used to be.

“The dollar equivalent of naira today has gone up to over N400. The purchasing power of the budget, as it is now, is weaker than it was 10 years ago. The budget of the National Assembly is supposed to be reviewed, in view of its purchasing ability, on the basis of the services that will help the parliament to move forward.

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“At the moment, it is a weak budget, and this is the truth. I have actually fought with the leadership of the House and I have asked the question: ‘Why are you afraid to raise the budget of the National Assembly to enable us conduct our services efficiently and effectively?’

“We appropriate for agencies to run effectively; yet, we are in penury to our own constitutional mandate. It is a disservice to Nigerians. The poor budget of the parliament is a disservice to Nigerians.”