Financial autonomy will enhance independence

Financial autonomy will enhance independence

The Director General of the Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NICDS), Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, has said that financial autonomy for the Houses of Assembly will enhance legislative independence.

He said the autonomy also has implications for parliamentary accountability and transparency.

Sulaiman, former National Planning Minister, said autonomy will enable the Assemblies to plan their financies and re-order their priorities.

He spoke at a one-day conference for the 36 Speakers of House of Assembly in Lagos organised by the institute.

Sulaiman said the institute was dedicated to strengthening the capacities of the legislature at the state, national sub-regional and regional levels.

Describing the parliament as an important arm of government, he said it is vested with the powers of legislation, representation, investigation, approval, regulation and overright.

Sulaiman said the Houses of Assembly are affected by the high turn over of legislators, which is usually 70 percent.

To effectively discharge its duties, he said each Assembly required competent lawmakers, legislative staff and aides.

Noting that President Buhari had assented to the Fourth Constitutional Alteration Bill, which guaranteed financial autonomy and independence to the Houses of Assembly, he said the move will enable them to enjoy funding directly from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the states.

He also emphasised that the autonomy has implications for accountability, transparency and good governance.

Sulaiman added: “The Assemblies are better positioned to recruit competent staff, determine their financial resources and decide on their internal organisation and govenance.”

The Director-General said the institute will intensify the capacity building programmes and provide technical support to the state parliaments.

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