Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, have rejected the N10 billion estimate for their official residences in the 2016 budget proposal of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).
The FCTA had proposed N6 billion for the residence of the Senate President and N4 billion for that of the Speaker.
While Speaker Dogara currently resides in a rented apartment, Senator Saraki was living in his personal house in Maitama until late last year when a fire incident forced him to move into an official guest house.
THISDAY however gathered that Saraki and Dogara have rejected the huge figure in the budget proposal. Their position on the issue was premised on the fact that it was too high considering the state of the national economy and that such proposal would create the impression that they were insensitive to the state of the nation.
The two presiding officers were said to have agreed that the cost of the buildings should be reduced to N1billion each, thereby saving the country the sum of N8billion. Already their position have been communicated to the chairmen of the Committee on FCT in both chambers.
“Yes, they feel the budget is too high at this time when the economy is yet to be revived,” a source told THISDAY.
The source added that Saraki and Dogara were also conscious of the need to be recognized as a pro-people parliament, and not accommodate ostentatious spending.
“People would not remember that the residences do not belong to the Senate President and the Speaker. True, the residences are to be occupied by whoever holds these offices, but if they allow it, with the current state of the economy, that would be considered insensitive,” the source added.
It was gathered that the position of the Senate President on the issue had been reflected in the report submitted by the Senate Committee on FCT to the Appropriation Committee.