Indications emerged on Tuesday that the jumbo pay being received by the elected officials, including lawmakers, and other political appointees in the country would be reviewed to reflect the country’s current tandem economic realities.
This was made known when the Chairman, Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Elias Mbam, briefed State House Correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa yesterday.
The nation’s economic fortune has nosedived recently due to the consistent fall of the price of crude, the country’s mainstay, at the international market.
Mbam who also requested that the Commission be granted financial autonomy and be allowed to draw resources on first line charge from the federation accounts equally demanded that the agency be given enforcement power so that it could sanction any defaulting ministry, department and agency in the country.
On the alleged jumbo pay to members of the National Assembly, Mbam said “We have done a lot in informing the general public on the true position of the renumeration packages.
First and foremost, it is on our website, it is clearly written there and we have had course to publish these renumeration packages severally in many national dailies.
We have also had interactions with press at different fora where we explained what the commission had determined.
“What we read on the pages of newspapers is not known to the commission because there is no member of the National Assembly, based on what we determined, who should earn up to N1million per month.
Presently, 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’. It will go through a process and it should be obvious to you the economic realities of the day and it is going to reflect that.”
On those expected to be affected with the review, the RMAFC boss said “When I talk of packages, the responsibility of the commission is to determine the remuneration for political office holders, both elected and appointed, from the national level to the local government level.
Of course, National Assembly members are elected, it will include them. It will include the judiciary; it will include the state legislature, executive and of course, the local government will be included.
Recently, the oil price dropped. Many government agencies, the states and local governments have not been able to pay their salaries. These are some of 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.”
Asked whether the lawmakers whose salaries and emoluments are likely to be cut to reflect the economic realities of the nation would accept the review, 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 swore to obey the laws of the country.”
On what the President response was to their requests, the RMAFC boss said Buhari advised them to ensure that they use all legitimate means that all public office holders take home the remuneration as determined by the commission and ensure that leakages are blocked as they try to expand the size of the national ‘cake.’