The Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Muhammed Shehu, says political office holders in Nigeria do not earn outrageous emoluments as speculated by Nigerians.
Mr Shehu, during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja, said some civil servants are earning more than ministers and legislators, adding that politicians have yet to see a salary increment since 2007.
“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 who 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 said.
Recent attempt to increase salaries of public servants
An official of RMAFC had in June stated that a 114 per cent salary increase has been approved for political office holders.
Many Nigerians criticised the proposal at a time when citizens are being asked to adjust to increased prices of goods and services as a result of government policies such as the removal of subsidy on petrol.
However, Dele Alake, the then spokesperson to President Bola Tinubu, denied the claim, noting that the president is yet to give his approval.
Reacting to the planned increment of salaries, Mr Shehu said that it is the constitutional responsibility of RMAFC to determine and review the salaries of executive, legislative and judicial officers.
He said salaries of political office holders have not been reviewed since 2007.
“From 2008 till date there had not been any single review,” Mr Shehu said.
“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,” he said.
Legislators not earning jumbo salaries but operating cost — RAMFC
Speaking on the earnings of senators and members of the House of Representatives, Mr Shehu said what Nigerians consider to be “jumbo salaries” is “operating cost”.
“I know some people will say members of the National Assembly get up to N10 million or N11 million monthly.
“Those are not salaries, they are like operating costs of running their offices which in other societies the legislator does not have to see because there is a structure.
“Once you get elected, you make that structure from your constituency office to computers to logistics to the size of your constituency.
Mr Shehu stated further that legislators ought to submit receipts for proper documentation and accountability.
“Wherever you have constituency office, the workers you hire, It is the National Assembly Service commission that is supposed to take care of that.
“But the Nigerian system allows the legislator to be given a certain amount and then he deals with that and retires the receipts,” Mr Shehu said.