Stephen Ukandu with Agency Report
The organised labour has vehemently opposed the proposed 114% salary hike for the President, Vice President, Governors and other political office holders.
Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation, and Fiscal Commission has recommended an upward review in the basic salaries of political and judicial office holders.
This is coming at a time many states are finding it difficult to pay N30,000 minimum wage to their workers.
The Chairman of the commission, Alhaji Muhammadu Shehu, who was represented by the RMAFC commissioner from Kebbi State, Mrs Rakiya Tanko-Ayuba, disclosed this on Tuesday in Birnin Kebbi, during the presentation of the reviewed remuneration package of political and judicial office holders to the state governor, Dr Nasir Idris.
Commenting on the proposed salary increase, the organised labour described it as provocative because of the fuel subsidy removal pain Nigerians were going through.
The News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday reported that the reviewed salary required legislation by the national and state assemblies before its implementation.
According to NAN, the commission stated that the last review was done in 2007, which led to the 2008 Act on the remuneration of political office holders.
“The commission, having considered that the consumer price index of some selected baskets of commodities have collectively grown by an average of 371% from 2008 to 2022, the current annual basic salary of all categories of political, public and judicial office holders in the country is adjusted upward by 114 per cent.”
The agency disclosed that it recommended that existing allowances of political office holders be maintained, while three new allowances were introduced for judicial office holders.
These include allowances for a professional development assistant, a long service allowance, and a restricted lifestyle allowance.
The commission explained that the reviewed remuneration packages required “legislation by the National Assembly’’ for beneficiaries at the federal level and the Federal Capital Territory, while the review for those in states and local governments would need legislative backing by state assemblies.
It admitted that the review would lead to an increase in personnel cost of government at all levels, adding that the remuneration packages were inputs from workshops it held on February 1.
The commission further explained that the review was in line with the provision of Paragraph 32(d) of Part 1 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Government (as amended).
It said: “It empowers the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation, and Fiscal Commission to determine the remuneration appropriate for political office holders, including the President, Vice President, governors, deputy governors, ministers, commissioners, special advisers, legislators and the holders of the offices mentioned in Sections 84 and 124 of the Constitution of the Federal Government.”
It said the last review of the remuneration was carried out in 2007, which culminated in the “Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances, etc) (Amendment) Act, 2008.
”Sixteen years after the last review, it is imperative that the Remuneration Packages for the categories of the office holders mentioned in relevant Sections of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) should be reviewed.
”Pursuant to the above, Your Excellency may please recall that on Wednesday, 1st February 2023, the Commission held a one-day zonal public hearing on the review of the remuneration package simultaneously in all the six (6) geo-political zones of the country.
”The exercise aimed at harvesting inputs or ideas from a broad spectrum of stakeholders.”
But commenting on the NAN report, the RMAFC Public Relations Officer, Christian Nwachukwu, in an interview, said the rate of the salary increase had not been fixed.
He stated, “There is no authentic information on that (the rate) because it has to be forwarded, although we have done some things on it. There is no percentage we can say now. I am not aware of that.”
He said this in a response to media reports about the commission approving the increment of salaries of political office-holders, judicial and public office holders by 114 per cent.
Commenting on the salary review, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Wednesday noted it would provoke Nigerians.
TUC Vice-President, Tommy Etim, said, “The increment is such that will provoke Nigerians seeing as Nigerians are already groaning under the effect of the subsidy removal among others. The TUC has always called for a reduction in the cost of governance. However, if they still go ahead with it, we are going to use that opportunity to table more allowances for the Nigerian people.”
On its part, the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics described the proposed 114 per cent pay rise for elected politicians as provocative and insensitive.
The National President of the union, Dr Anderson Ezeibe, said, “The report is provocative and insensitive. It is difficult to see the rationale behind such a move by the government in a country where the working class has been groaning under severe economic pains.
“While the staff unions in the tertiary education sector have been negotiating a wage increase with the government since 2017 and the government showing a lack of commitment to the process, the same government is busy awarding themselves such pay rise.
“The citizens are still suffering from the impact of the removal of subsidy on PMS, increase in electricity tariff and the attendant implications on their wellbeing only to see such “reward” which can only encourage opulence and oppression by the political class.
“It is an affront to Labour as the Labour movement is still trying to come to terms with the reality of the economic situation in the country and negotiating some palliatives from the same government. It is disappointing.”