By Enyichukwu Enemanna
The Chairman of the body responsible for fixing income of public officers in Nigeria, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) says the general assumption in the country that politicians are overpaid is wrong, stating that their emoluments are not outrageous.
The commission’s chairman, Alhaji Muhammed Shehu, was quoted by NAN on Sunday as saying that salaries of political office holders were last reviewed in 2007.
Condemnations had trailed reports on a proposed 114 per cent increase in salaries of political office holders by the commission, as inflation continues to take a toll on many Nigerian families arising from the recent removal of petroleum subsidy, an information the commission said is untrue.
Shehu insists that it was the constitutional responsibility of RMAFC to determine and review the salaries of executive, legislative and judicial officers.
“From 2008 till date there had not been any single review.
“Last year, some individuals took the Federal Government to court. These were some activists concerned about the salaries of judicial officers.
“In the court, the judge ruled that a judge should be paid about N10 million a month, that was the court ruling,” he said.
He said that the commission would not contemplate the speculated increase now, considering the prevailing economic challenges faced by Nigerians.
“We are Nigerians, we are not going to start talking about reviewing salaries of political office holders now because of the challenges that the government is facing.
“As a commission, we are going to do our work but we are not going to say we will do it now.
“We will do it when the climate is right and then we will take it forward to the stakeholders for them to decide on what to do.
“I want to disabuse the minds of Nigerians. It is not true that people are getting jumbo salaries.
“The monthly salary of Mr President is less than N1.5 million; that of a minister is not even up to one million naira.
“I know of an average CBN worker that is not even a director, who earns more than a minister.
“People in NNPC, NCC, ports authority earn huge salaries. What is the salary of a governor? What is the salary of a legislator?”, he queried.
What people consider as outrageous earnings by lawmakers were statutory office running costs, which should, ordinarily be managed centrally by the National Assembly Service Commission, the RMAFC boss noted.