Cash Crunch Hits House of Reps Members | Nigeria Newspaper- Nigeria News| Naija News

6.8.17

Cash Crunch Hits House of Reps Members

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 Cash Crunch Hits House of Reps Members
House of Reps speaker, Yakubu Dogara
 
Federal lawmakers in Abuja have been apparently incapacitated by the failure of the finance ministry to disburse their salaries to them. More than one week after commencing their annual vacation, many members of the House of Representatives have been unable to travel out of Abuja, SUNDAY PUNCH has learnt.
 
Investigations revealed that the delay in the payment of their salaries and other allowances was responsible for the cash crunch facing the legislators.
 
Findings by a correspondent indicated that after waiting for bank alerts in the last one week, many members had besieged their banks to find out what the problem was but their accounts officers reportedly told them that no money had been paid into their accounts.
 
It was gathered that the July salary of the legislators had yet to be paid as of Friday. A member of the House of Representatives receives between N690,000 and N1.1m monthly.
 
They also receive a quarterly allocation of between N27.9m and N33m. But a drop in flow of funds to the legislature in recent months forced the bureaucracy to reduce the lawmakers’ monthly package.
 
The disappointed lawmakers was said to have blamed the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation for the non-release of funds budgeted for the National Assembly.
 
As a result, SUNDAY PUNCH learnt that the legislators had no immediate plans of travelling to their constituencies, where they would be faced with financial demands from their people.
 
A lawmaker, who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “As we speak, nobody has been paid July salary. It seems to be the normal thing these days not to pay lawmakers on time.

“Several meetings have been held with the leadership of the House on how to resolve the problem, but all that you hear is no money. Members have asked how other arms of government get funding to run their own operations and pay salaries promptly.”
 
However, sources at the finance ministry claimed that the country was facing some challenges which had affected the flow of cash.

“The truth is that there is a general drop in cash flow and efforts are being made to stabilise the system,” the source said.
 
A Peoples Democratic Party lawmaker from Edo State, Johnson Agbonayinma, confirmed to a reporter that members were owed salaries.
 
Although he admitted that the delay in payment of their salary was a “major problem” workers in several agencies of government faced, Agbonayinma argued that the case of the National Assembly appeared to be deliberate.
 
He said, “I don’t know what else to say. We are suffering. Nigerians are suffering. The National Assembly is treated with levity; they don’t take our case seriously.

“The people in the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank tell us the same story every day. That is why I have been praying that President Muhammadu Buhari should get well quickly and return home.”
 
An All Progressives Congress lawmaker from Kano State, Bashir Baballe, also confirmed to a reporter that members were facing “financial difficulties.”
 
Baballe said, “I am here in Abuja. We are still waiting for our salary. Travelling is not the issue now.”
 
When contacted, the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas, said the salary issue was not handled at the level of the Committee on House Services but by the bureaucracy of the National Assembly.
 
However, the bureaucracy blamed the development on “poor budgetary releases” by the finance ministry.

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