Abuja (Sundiata Post) — Few days ago, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, threw a challenge to governors on open budget (security votes).
In a swift response, the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, picked up the challenge by releasing details of his State’s expenditure.
Twenty-four hours later, Dogara launched a counterattack his pay slips for six months’ salaries, covering October 2016 to March 2017.
Below are their words in black and white for record purposes…
From El-Rufai’s Court:
El-Rufai Presents Specifics Of Security Budget, Challenges NASS To Present Budget Details As He Releases Pay Slip
Our attention has been drawn to a challenge by Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House of Representatives, calling on Kaduna State to make public its Security Votes and Local Government expenditure. This challenge was thrown as a response to Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s request to the National Assembly (NASS) to provide further details on the opaque N115 billion (One Hundred and Fifteen Billion Naira) 2016 NASS budget. Malam Nasir El-Rufai welcomes this challenge as a necessary step to improve and strengthen our democracy and would like to respond as follows:
1. The budgets of all state governments in Nigeria are detailed out and presented at least under the headings of:
a. personnel cost
b. overhead, and
c. capital expenditure
This is unlike the budget of the National Assembly which is a single line item of over N100 billion that divulges zero information or details. NASS can at least break down its own single line budget into the hundreds of line items that are detailed in every state government budget in Nigeria. It is disingenuous to respond to every request for transparency by casting aspersions.
2. On our part, the Kaduna State government has consistently made public all its budget details. In 2016, in an unprecedented step, the State published not only its own budget, but also that of all the 23 Local Government Councils online on the www.openkaduna.com.ng website. The Local Government budgets provide details of the recurrent and capital spending of every single LG in a transparent manner. The proposed 2017 LG Budgets, currently before the State Assembly, are also already online on the same website, and on www.kdsg.gov.ng. Approved State Budgets 2016-2017 can be found on http://openkaduna.com.ng/Budget/approved-budget. We invite the Right Honourable Speaker to download and peruse at his pleasure.
3. As regards Kaduna State Security Votes, once again, if the Honourable Speaker had run an online search he would have discovered the details of our spending priorities on security as a State Government. As our Kaduna Comprehensive Security Architecture (KADCoSA) outlines, the State is directing security spending on four pillars; Justice, Technology, Community Engagement and Support to Security Agencies. The 2017 budget details specific amounts:
a. N1.5bn (one and half billion naira) for the Procurement & Installation of CCTV Cameras for Monitoring and Surveillance towards Reducing Criminal Activities within the Metropolis.
b. N193m (one hundred and ninety-three million naira) for Procurement of Geo-position Interceptor and location of GSM UMTS System to Check the Trends and Intercept/locate kidnappers’ GSM calls.
c. N265m (two hundred and sixty-five million naira) for the Procurement of Drones/Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) to identify locations of armed bandits in our Forest Reserves across the state and the Establishment of a Forensic Laboratory to assist in determining substantial evidence in cases that otherwise proved difficult in the past.
d. In addition, N2.6bn (two billion and six hundred million naira) is allocated in 2017 to support the network of federal Security Agencies in Kaduna with communications, logistics and materiel.
4. Details of actual spending in 2015 for security and indeed every line item in the State budgets are also publicly available via the annual report of the Accountant-General accessible on www.kdsg.gov.ng.
5. The 2015 accounts of the Kaduna State Government have been audited, and the audit summary published in major newspapers and on the state website on 21st June 2016. The Accountant-General’s report for 2016 has been finalized and its audit is ongoing and will be published as usual. The audited state government accounts can also be found on http://openkaduna.com.ng/Budget/audited.
6. The Kaduna State government will continue to remain transparent and open in all its finances. That is what we have promised to all our people and that is what our party, the APC and our President stand for. Malam Nasir El-Rufai is today making publicly available his pay-slip as Governor of Kaduna State. In February 2017, the Kaduna State Government paid the Governor a net salary of N470,521.74, with the following details:
7. The amount may appear puny but it reflects what the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission approved as the salary and allowances of every State Governor adjusted to reflect provision in-kind of accommodation and transportation.
8. Governor Nasir El-Rufai would like to reiterate his call for the NASS leadership to do the same and disclose the details of the National Assembly budget, and the salaries and allowances of its leadership.
9. The call to #OpenNASS is not a personal one. It is one which the leadership of the National Assembly owes to all Nigerians. It is therefore disingenuous for the Speaker to use State Government budgets as the excuse for the opacity of the NASS budget. In 2016, the NASS budget for its 469 members was larger than thecapital budget of Kaduna State, with close to 10 million inhabitants. It is also larger than the entire budget of several Nigerian States. Indeed, over the past ten years from 2008, the NASS as an institution has cost the country over a trillion naira without any detail on how this amount was allocated and spent.
10. There is no state government in Nigeria with a budget nearly as opaque as that of NASS. In March 2016, this National Assembly, led by its Chairman, promised to provide a detailed breakdown of the National Assembly budget. Nigerians are waiting.
Special Assistant (Media and Publicity) to the Governor of Kaduna State
10th April 2017
From Dogara’s Court:
MALLAM NASIR EL-RUFAI SHOULD CONCENTRATE IN KADUNA AND STOP UNDERMINING THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
TEXT OF PRESS CONFERENCE BY CHAIRMAN, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON MEDIA AND PUBLICITY, HON. ABDULRAZAK NAMDAS
Speaker Dogara releases six months payslip
Nigerians may recall that the Rt. Hon. Speaker on Friday April 7, 2017 in response to calls by Kaduna State Governor Mallam Nasir El-Rufai disclosed that the leadership of the National Assembly had directed the bureaucracy and all other agencies under the National Assembly to make available details of their annual budgets beginning from 2017 budget which is still under consideration in the parliament.
2. Nigerians may further recall that the Rt. Hon. Speaker requested Kaduna State Governor, El-Rufai who is known for his consistent advocacy for openness in the budget of the National Assembly, to, in the spirit of good governance, transparency and accountability extend his campaign to other arms and tiers of government beginning from the Judiciary, to State Governments and Local Governments. The Speaker specifically urged Malam El-Rufai who has been championing this cause to impress on his colleagues (Governors) to disclose their Security votes and also publish what they do with local government funds under their jurisdictions.
3. Thus, the call by the Speaker was for Malam El-rufai to extend his advocacy on transparency and accountability to other arms and tiers of government in order to remove the lid of secrecy that has beclouded expenditures at the state level led by his colleagues especially on their security votes and not the states’ security budget. We note that what Malam El-rufai published was the security budget of Kaduna state and not his security vote expenditure as such.
4. We wish to advise the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai to concentrate his efforts in Governing Kaduna State and stop undermining and distracting the National Assembly in playing its constitutionally assigned role in nation building. He launched an attack on the National Assembly on Friday, 7th April, 2017 and continued on Monday 10th April 2017. We are aware that there are serious security issues he should be grappling with in Southern Kaduna and other governmental issues facing him. He should not give the impression that he has no challenging work to do in Kaduna State. These attacks are coming on the heels of his now famous letter to Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, where he made strenuous effort to undermine his government, by openly lampooning him when he has unhindered access to His Excellency, Mr. President. As a senior citizen, he has a responsibility not to unnecessarily overheat the polity with tendentious and unfounded outbursts.
5. The National Assembly Budget is not opaque. Since 2010 when the Constitution was amended and National Assembly was placed on the first line charge, its budget became part of Statutory Transfers, together with the Judiciary, INEC and others. You cannot find details of the Budget of the Judiciary and INEC in the National Budget. It exists elsewhere. Of course from 1999 to 2010, the details of the National Assembly Budget was contained in the National Budget.
6. The leadership of the National Assembly has already directed the Clerk to the National Assembly to publish details of the National Assembly Budget from 2017 and so to continue to repeat the same call made 3days earlier smacks of propaganda and cheap blackmail.
7. The Kaduna State Governor chose to give headings of its budget on security related matters. Maybe he will give further details of actual security expenditures at the appropriate time. He claimed that the State’s accounts have been audited. No grounds have been broken here. The response by the Kaduna State Governor completely missed the point. Mr. Speaker’s call was for El-Rufai to extend the campaign for openness and transparency to other arms of government, including the Governors’ expenditures on security votes and Local Government funds. He merely doubled down on his campaign on National Assembly Budget leaving out the other aspects of Mr. Speaker’s request.
8. The Kaduna State Governor claimed that “in 2016, the National Assembly budget for its 469 members was larger than the entire budget of several Nigerian States”.
9. This statement is patently misleading and a terrible display of ignorance and falsehood or a deliberate attempt to blackmail the parliament. For the avoidance of doubt, the National Assembly budget includes the salaries, allowances, expenditure and running cost of 469 members. It includes the salaries, allowances of about 3,000 Legislative Aides; it includes the salaries, allowances, equipment and maintenance of about 5000 staff in the Bureaucracy of the National Assembly. The National Assembly has agencies too. The National Assembly Service Commission has a staff strength of about 500. The National Institute for Legislative Studies is also a parastatal of the National Assembly that serves as a legislative think-tank and a highly rated academic institution, which serves not only the National Assembly but also State Houses of Assembly and the international community. It is currently building its headquarters which is world class. It has to be funded. El-Rufai’s mischievous publication carefully ignores the fact that the Bureaucracy of National Assembly and its agencies and 469 members need travel and transport support. They require medical attention, offices, equipment and all the support available to others in the public service.
10. El-Rufai conveniently forgot that the National Assembly has buildings to build and maintain. He discountenanced the need for training and re-training of staff and even capacity building for members. The narrative is such that he excludes the need for National Assembly members and bureaucracy to attend conferences both local and foreign. Some of the most critical work the National Assembly does is Oversight. It costs a lot of money to conduct proper oversight of executive agencies to save money and ensure governmental efficiency for the Nigerian people. Public Hearings by the National Assembly and its Committees have become a regular feature of our democracy, because citizen engagement and consultation is cardinal for running a democratic government. It costs a lot of money.
11. It is most uncharitable to ignore the fact that the National Assembly is an arm of government, not a department in the Executive branch. The Budget of so many agencies in the Executive is higher than that of National Assembly, an arm of government. Such agencies as NCC – N102billion, CBN – N421billion, NPA – N250billion, NIMASA – N100billion, FIRS – N146billion, Customs – N81billion and NNPC whose budget runs into trillions are some examples. Indeed, the National Assembly Budget is about 2% of the National Budget. Yes, the National Assembly has voluntarily agreed to publish its Budget from 2017, as a responsible and accountable democratic institution. What happens to 98% of the National Budget should engage our attention too. We are sure that if 10% of the public scrutiny National Assembly receives is also devoted to those spending the other 98%, Nigeria would be better for it.
12. We decided to respond only to correct some factual inaccuracies and set the records straight.
13. I am directed by the Hon. Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, to also in the spirit of transparency release his pay slip for the past 6 months from October 2016 to March 2017, for your information.
14. Thank you and God bless.