NIGERIAN tax payers will spend an average of N1.2bn monthly to maintain additional lawmakers, if a bill seeking to increase legislative seats which is currently being considered by the House of Representatives, scales through.
The bill titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to Alter the Provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, to create Additional Special Seats for Women in the Federal and States Legislative Houses; and for Related Matters,’ passed second reading, on the floor of the House on April 28, 2021.
It seeks to, among other things, create an additional 111 seats dedicated solely to women at the federal and state legislatures. The Senate currently has 109 seats, while the House has 360.
An estimate of the cost of maintaining of occupants of the new seats was calculated by The PUNCH on Monday.
The bill is being sponsored by the Deputy Chief Whip, Nkeiruka Onyejeo and 85 other members.
As of 2019, members of the 8th National Assembly disclosed some details of the lawmakers’ remuneration. While a Senator earned N700,000 as basic salary and N13.5m as running cost (including allowances), totalling N14.4m.
A member of the House earned a basic salary of N606,000 and running cost of N8.5m, totaling N9.1m.
Each of the 36 states has three Senate seats each and a representative of the Federal Capital Territory, while membership of the House is based on the population size of each state.
The bill is now seeking creating an additional Senate seat for each state including the FCT, making 37 extra seats and bringing the total seats to 146.
For the House, two additional seats will be created in each state as well as the FCT, making an additional 74 seats, bringing the total to 434.
If the 9th national assembly has maintained the same welfare package for members, an additional 37 senators would earn N532.8m monthly while the additional 74 representatives would get N673.4m per month.
Cumulatively, it would cost the country another N1,206,200,000 to run the National Assembly if the 111 seats are created.
Meanwhile, presiding and principal officers earn higher. The lawmakers also enjoy other welfare packages.