By Ifeanyi Nwoko
The National Assembly has urged state assemblies to put in place internal control mechanism that will guarantee transparency and accountability in their day-to-day running.
The training and research arm of the National Assembly – National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), gave the charge in Abuja at a two-day workshop on strengthening capacity of Adamawa State House of Assembly for Financial Autonomy.
Declaring the event open, the Director General of NILDS, Prof. Ladi Hamalai, said the recent signing of the Constitution 4th Alteration Bill into law by President Muhammadu Buhari entails greater responsibility for state legislatures.
“Financial and administrative autonomy for State Houses of Assembly, however, entail greater responsibility for both the legislators and the support staff at state government level.
“Necessary structure and processes must be put in place to ensure internal control mechanism that could guarantee transparency and accountability in the day to day running of the parliament.
“Moreover, there is need for the State Houses of Assembly to develop pool of competent officers/staff that would help in the implementation of these reforms. I want to assure you all that NILDS is more than ready to partner and collaborate with you in the training and retraining of your staff to meet the requirement of an autonomous legislature”.
In June, President Buhari signed the Constitution 4th Alteration Bill into law that grants financial autonomy and independence to the Houses of Assembly of the respective states and to the judiciary in the states.
In his presentation, former Secretary (Finance and Accounts Directorate) of National Assembly, Bukoye Lasisi, said the new law will lead to more effective constitutional duties by state assemblies.
Lasisi also called on state assemblies yet to establish State Assembly Service Commission to do so, adding that this would create independent bureaucracy for their day-to-day administration.
He stressed that financial autonomy for state legislatures entails additional expectations and responsibilities.
“For any Legislature to effectively perform their law making, budget making and oversight responsibilities, it must be financially autonomous. This means it must have the power to budget for its funds and access same without Executive interference.
“Accordingly, State Assemblies must be steadfast in defending the independence of the lnstitution of the Legislature,” Lasisi said.