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RMAFC Ready With Review Of Public Officers Remuneration

Paul Yovo with Agency report writes on the shape of the new pay to come for public officers


The much awaited report on the review of salaries and allowances for political, public and judicial office holders is almost completed, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) has said.

Its Public Relations Officer, Mr Ibrahim Mohammed, revealed this at the weekend in Abuja

It would be recalled that the Chairman of the Commission, Mr Elias Mbam, in June, inaugurated members of the Remuneration Committee to carry out the review with a mandate that the report would be ready before the end of September. This followed the huge public support for the symbolic gesture by President Muhammadu Buhari , Vice-President Femi Osinbajo and some governors and their deputies to cut their salaries by as much as 50 per cent following several years of public outcry over the huge cost of governance and its economic and social impact on the well-being of the country. Academicians, politicians, civil society organisations such as the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Nigeria Bar Association, NBA. Open Society in West Africa, OSIWA, Shelter Rights Agenda and a host of others have been united in pressing for the downward review of the huge take home pay and perquisites of public official, most the federal lawmakers at the National Assembly.

Mohammed said: “You will recall that in the second quarter of this year, the Chairman of the Commission, Elias Mbam, promised Nigerians that the review exercise would be completed before the end of September. The process has been on, I can say the whole exercise is about 95 per cent completed. There were some intervening variables that did not really allow us to complete it on schedule but I’m assuring Nigerians that within the next couple of days it will be ready.’’

He said that the process began with literature review and extensive studies on remuneration packages for public office holders in countries that have common attributes with Nigeria.

He also said that the commission had engaged in stakeholder meetings across the country to seek the views of Nigerians because they had a stake in the project since they voted for the politicians. “The politicians equally have a stake because they are the beneficiaries.

“So, we have been in touch with the wider cross section of Nigerians to get as many views as possible so that at the end of the day what will come out as the reviewed package will be acceptable to a large majority of Nigerians.’’

Mohammed said that the review was carried out not to satisfy Nigerians’ quest for it but because the commission had a constitutional mandate to do it, more so based on current realities.

He also said that when the draft report is ready, it would be presented to the commission’s plenary for ratification and approval before submission to the President for onward transmission to the National Assembly.

“The beauty of it is that when it is presented to the National Assembly, members of the National Assembly have no constitutional right to tamper with what we proposed for them.

“They can only tamper with what is approved for the executive and the judiciary and in so doing they cannot review it upwards above what we prescribe, they can only reduce it downward.

“Whatever we recommend for them is final.

“So that is why we are taking our time to do a thorough job so that at the end of the day Nigerians will say yes, we have done our work.

“The framers of the constitution in their wisdom provides that whatever the commission prescribes for the National Assembly cannot be tampered with by them.

“Because they cannot sit in judgement of what belongs to them, so whatever the commission prescribes is the final.’’

Mohammed, however, said that the review was not just about increase or reduction of remuneration for public office holders, but the entire package.

“There were challenges in the review exercise because most Nigerians feel that we must review it downwards.

“But the issue is we are looking at the current realities, the whole issue of the review is not just about reducing it or increasing it, but its looking at the entire package, what should be done.’’

He, however, said that decision could not be made based on sentiments but on scientific analysis, which, he said, must be objective.

According to him, the review will also be based on economic indices, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and other factors to make the right decisions which will be acceptable to Nigerians


–   (NAN Report)

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