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Jumbo Pay Cut: More Knocks For Senate

The recent reasons of third party given by the Senate to suspend discussion of Jumbo Pay has continued to draw the ire of the populace reports Francis Moses The rejection by the Senators over the pay cut salary have been generating a lot of concern in the country, meanwhile Nigerians are outraged by the decision of Senators to reject a pay cut as recommended by the Manager Committee on Finance.

The Senate suspended consideration of the committee recently as members disagreed sharply on the recommendation that members’ salary and allowances be cut. But reacting to the action of the Senators, some prominent opinion leaders have expressed shock that the lawmakers are not showing concern for the poor state of the national economy and the well- being of the generality of Nigerians.

However the first Republic Minister, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, likened the stance of the Senators to legalization of looitng. His words “I have always been critical of the outrageous and exorbitant allowances being collected by members of the National Assembly. As far as I am concerned, it is legalizing stealing and looting,” “Though the reduction of their allowances may not have much effect on the economy, it is desirable that they reduce it in the interest of the country.

It is highly ridiculous that a university professor who has spent a good part of his life contributing to the body of knowledge does not earn up to 20 percent of what these people are earning. “The issue here is that I don’t know what they are doing there on full time basis and earning these bogus allowances. During our days in the First Republic, we worked part time.

“I think the solution to this problem lies in the executive. The president should not assent to any bills they present to him if they refuse to cut their allowances. If this is done and they go ahead to use two third majority to pass the bill into law, then it would be glaring that they are unpatriotic. Nigerians would then see that they out to achieve their selfish agenda and not there to serve the people.” Constitutional lawyer, Professor Itse Sagay, branded the rejection of the pay cut as selfish.

“Members of the National Assembly have been consistent in their attitude of not being concerned about the interest of the country. They are only there to serve their own interests. “There has been so much talk about their allowances and one should ordinarily expect them to do something about it.

“There are about six to seven items on their list of allowances that they should remove. For instance, the wardrobe allowance. As a man with a wife and children, is it not an embarrassment for me to be waiting for the government to clothe me? In a similar development, despite the fact that the National Assembly (NASS) is yet to pass a bill, it has spent over N12.9billion to maintain its members. According to a report, about 109 senators were paid N36.4million each while the 360 members of the House of Representatives were paid a massive N25million.

The National Assembly, where the senators are being paid huge amounts of money without passing a single bill in the last two months The report further revealed that they were first paid N10milion each in June to ‘cushion’ the difficulty of settling down in Abuja, to cover their expenses on housing, transport and furniture. Since their inauguration on June 9, the legislators and lawmakers have gone on recess three times and before the reecnt week’s break, the senators got N13 million each and representatives, N8 million.

Meanwhile the controversial emergence of senators Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu as the Senate President and Deputy President respectively as well as Yakubu Dogara and Lasun Yusuf, who were also picked as House Speaker and Deputy Speaker against the wish of their party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), has since haunted the ruling party.

However the senators recently, disagreed to have their salaries and allowances cut by about 30percent on the recommendation by the Finance Committee, a situation which would have saved tax payers about N2billion yearly. Nigerians blasted the senators for rejecting to have their salaries slashed, stating that they should be paid as they work. Interestingly the senator representing Kogi West senatorial district, Dino Melaye, has said that he and colleagues are prepared to make sacrifices for the nation’s development.

He explained that the law chamber agreed to reduce their earnings, saying that the National Assembly had taken steps to reduce its annual budget from N150 billion to N120 billion. The chairman of the Senate’s ad hoc committee on media, however, added that since the budget was not independently prepared, the lawmakers have resolved to consult all stakeholders before drawing a conclusion on the issue. According to him: “The Senate, I repeat, deliberated on the report.

The Senate is ready to make sacrifices for the purpose of development and that was already indicated even in the Appropriation Act of 2015. “For the past five years, the budget of the National Assembly had always been N150 billion. But the 2015 budget is N120 billion. “Already, there has been a reduction of N30 billion in the budget of the Assembly. This money is to be shared among the six or seven organs; the National Assembly Service Commission, the Senate, the House of Representatives, the National Institute for Legislative Studies and the Public Conduct Commission (PCC), amongst other arms; including the salaries and allowances of the legislative aides, numbering over 3,000; they are all inclusive”.

He said that the Senate in a closed-door session discussed the report of the ad hoc Committee on Finances of the Senate and after due deliberation they resolved to interface with the House of Representatives so that both houses can be on the same page on the report as presented. Against this contest some Nigerians are not happy over this as they have criticized the rejection of a pay cut by members of the Senate and their six weeks recess. In his contribution one Mr. Taiwo said, “ Is it any wonder they didn’t agree on the pay cut.?

I recommend a “pay as you work” salary for these idle Senators. Zahrah Musa said, the Nigerian senate still underestimates the agitation of Nigerians for change. We demand they reduce their pay For Ogbeni Omoluabi, the best job in the world is being a senator in Nigeria. You get paid quite well and get vacation for doing nothing. Bashir Akanbi, said that “verily Senator Saraki is a true agent of Change by such positive move to reduce salaries and allowances but conservatives among APC and some PDP stood against it.

God bless Saraki, Buhari and Nigeria at large.” Memunat Haruna: “we voted them into power not for their bellies. They are to represent us and not to satisfy their own personal needs at the expense of we the masses that voted for them. They should all follow the lead of the Senate President and others who are willing and ready to reduce their allowance to enable the money be used for the development of other areas.

-Francis Moses

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