The review of subsisting remuneration packages of political office holders will be ready by next month, Elias Mbam, chairman, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, said Tuesday.
The review will cover the National Assembly, Judiciary as well as the state legislature and local government executives.
Fielding questions from journalists after taking turns to brief President Muhammadu Buhari on the activities and challenges of the Commission, Mbam said the review was expected to reflect the economic realities of the day, including the drop in oil prices.
“We are currently reviewing the subsisting remuneration packages and it is going to reflect the socio-economic realities of today. We expect that before the end of next month, it will be ready. But it will go through a process, it is not something that you will just say yes or no,” he said.
Mbam said the review had been on since last year and that it had become imperative to conclude it following the drop in oil prices and the financial constraint, which had degenerated to states to being unable to pay staff salaries.
“These are some the issues that made it necessarily to review it. It did not start with this administration; we started the review as far back as last year. It is not because of the present administration that we commenced it,” he said.
The commission is saddled with the responsibility of determining the remuneration for political office holders, elected and appointed, from the national level to the local government level.
The pay of public office holders, particularly the salaries and allowances of National Assembly members, has been an issue of serious contention with Nigerians.
Since 2010, the N150 billion annual allocations to the National Assembly in the budget, which includes salaries and allowances, as well as other perks of office, have remained a closely guarded secret, as their details have always been hidden from the public.
Under the provisions of the law, President Muhammadu Buhari would be entitled to take home about N1.17 million per month as salary, or about N14.058 million per annum, while his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo would take home about N1.01 million per month, or N12.13 million per annum, excluding other allowances and entitlements.
However, Mbam told journalists at the Presidential Villa that based on what the commission had fixed “no member of the National Assembly, should earn up to N1 million per month.”
On whether National Assembly members would accept the new package, Mbam said: “They do not have a choice. We are guided by the Constitution and we are going to be guided by such laws that are provided for in the Constitution and the oath they sworn to obey the laws of the country.”
The president said he would use all legitimate means to ensure that all public office holders take home the remuneration as determined by the commission and “ensure that leakages are blocked.”
Mbam said the commission was not properly funded, as it should be one of the agencies of government that should have financial autonomy. “The best way to do that is to include it as one of the agencies that will benefit from first-line charge,” he said.
The second challenge is lack of power of enforcement, he said, adding that the Act establishing the commission be reviewed so that it could have power of enforcement and sanctions on any of the defaulting MDAs.
On the ongoing review of the revenue sharing formula, the he said he could not give a definite date of completion, as it was beyond his control. “I do not determine when the process will be concluded, but as far as the commission is concerned, we have concluded our work and announced to the general public that we have a draft, but you know it goes through a process before it finally becomes a law,” he said.