SERAP threatens lawsuit as National Assembly increases own budget, gets N228bn


Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has condemned the 2023 budget of the National Assembly in strong terms.

The organisation wants Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila to cut the “outrageous N228.1 billion”.

The estimate includes the N30.17bn severance payments and inauguration costs for members, described as the highest ever.

SERAP demands the federal legislature make the budget reflect the current economic realities, address the debt crisis, and prevent retrogressive economic measures.

The National Assembly increased its 2023 budget from N169 billion proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari to N228.1 billion.

On the other hand, the country’s appropriation of N21.83 trillion is based on a N10.49 trillion revenue, and N11.34 trillion deficit.

In the letter dated January 14, SERAP’s Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare said the National Assembly’s increase of its budget when 133 million citizens live in poverty was ” a grave violation of the public trust”.

The rights group lamented the reduction of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) budget, calling it “a travesty” given that Nigeria has over 10 million out-of-school children.

SERAP said instead of checking the persistent borrowing by the government and scrutinising the “unlawful overdrafts and loans”, the lawmakers increased their own appropriation.

“This outrageous waste of public money would substantially increase the cost of governance, and exacerbate the debt crisis. It is unlawful and unfair.

“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter.”

SERAP indicated that it would take appropriate legal actions if the National Assembly fails to comply with its request.

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