Don’t Accept Bloated Allowances, Nigerians Urge Lawmakers   | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Don’t Accept Bloated Allowances, Nigerians Urge Lawmakers  

Posted: Jun 21, 2015 at 12:18 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Austin Oboh Lagos

Peeved by recent reports that federal legislators in the country, would be paid N9 billion as wardrobe allowance, Nigerians have taken to the internet to demand that the lawmakers reject the humongous pay., an online media, has created opportunity for Nigerians to sign a petition addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari and principal officers of NASS, asking that all such allowances be scaled down.

The petitioners insist that given the plummeting fortunes of Nigeria, which has seen 18 states unable to pay their civil servants, it would amount to insensitivity for the lawmakers to continue earning such unrealistic allowances.

In the last few weeks, the financial crisis in the country has been the focus of public discourse. In some states, workers are threatening to, or have already embarked on repeated strike actions.

Public commentators, including politicians, agree that Buhari lives up to his word to reduce overheads in the budget, in the spirit of change.

House of Representatives member, Abdullahi Gaya, from Kano State, had on Monday demanded a 50 per cent cut in legislators’ allowances, to reflect the dwindling finances of government.

Gaya’s call came almost at the same time as Senators Dino Melaye (Kogi) and Ben Bruce-Murray (Bayelsa) started a campaign along the same line.

Their argument is that the Federal Government can improve democratic deliverables if more funds are rechanneled to development programmes.

The National Assembly Service Commission had last week alerted the nation of its inability to pay legislators.

The commission said it was cash-strapped and could not pay salaries of staff and legislators who had completed their tour of duty.

NASS budget was slashed from N150 billion to N120 billion in the 2015 budget.

The Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) confirmed that it, last week, set up a committee to review allowances of public officers in the light of the current situation.

The RMAFC also denied knowledge of the reported N9 billion Wardrobe Allowances for legislators as widely reported.

It claimed that the committee set up on the review was yet to conclude its assignment.

Responding to the report of the wardrobe allowances, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, explained that the commission is still reviewing the allowances of lawmakers.

Reacting via his Twitter handle (@bukolasaraki), the Senate President also revealed that he met with the chairman of the RMAFC to seek clarification on the issue.

According to him, “Chairman of RMAFC was in my office to clarify wardrobe allowance. The amount is N506,600 per senator.”

He added: “Fixing of remuneration of political office holders is the sole responsibility of RMAFC. With the current challenges we are facing as a nation, RMAFC will be reviewing allowances (See table on Page 1) to reflect the current economic trend.

As shown in the table of the NASS members’ allowances, a Senator would be entitled to N24.326 million per annum, while a member of the Houses of Representatives would earn N20.942 million. So in a four-year term, a Senator earns N97.304 million and a Representative, N83.326 million in allowances. These allowances are, however, besides their salaries, the size of which are yet to be made public.