The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission has set in motion the process for the downward review of the existing salaries and allowances of political, public and judicial office holders in Nigeria.
Elias Mbam, chairman of the organisation, on Wednesday inaugurated the committee charged with the responsibility of reviewing the Remuneration Act 2008.
The Remuneration Act of 2008 prescribed the salaries and allowances for political, public and judicial office holders.
Mbam urged the committee to be conscious of the prevailing economic situation and the need to reduce the cost of governance so as to free more funds for development, according to a statement issued by Ibrahim Mohammed, the head of Public Relations at RMAFC.
He also explained that the Commission was constitutionally empowered “to undertake the review of the remuneration packages as may be required from time to time so as to reflect current economic realities; advise federal and state governments on monetisation policies; and generate cost of living indices for revision of allowances.”
Mbam charged the committee to undertake wide consultations with all critical stakeholders including all arms of government of the federation, the national and state assemblies, state and local governments, professional economic bodies, the organised labour, the academia, the media and Nigerians in general so as to enrich the process.
He reminded the committee members of the need “to ensure that the review effectively minimises wastages and abuses and ensures prudent management of resources as well.”
Mohammed said the committee was expected “to review the existing Remuneration Act; identify areas of wastage and abuse, examine the implementation of the monetisation policy by ministries, departments and agencies and advise on appropriate remuneration for political, public and judicial officers commensurate with the work they do.”
Mbam stressed that the exercise was in line with the current realities characterised by inflation and downturn in international oil prices. The exercise, he said, should be completed before the end of September.
In his remarks after the inauguration, Abdullahi Inde, chairman of the Remuneration Committee of the commission,assured Nigerians that the committee would do a thorough job of the task assigned to it. He called on Nigerians to show support and pray for the committee.
Although the salaries and allowances of politicians had been controversial, Nigerians had been more worried about the remuneration of politicians that are not expressed in black and white.
The budget of the National Assembly, for instance, is usually not broken down into components and often includes constituency projects that could end up in the pockets of lawmakers.
Allowances and other perks of office of politicians are also seen as heftier than the salaries. There are reports that senators, members of the House of Representatives of the 8th National Assembly and ministers to be appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari would on assumption of office receive welcome perks amounting to N8,982,033, 974.
The perks of office include housing allowance which each of the incoming office holders is entitled to receive once a year, housing allowance which they are entitled to once in four years and motor vehicle loan which they are entitled to once in their tenure.
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