Buhari chides RMAFC over high pay for office holders
• Blames past leadership for huge subsidy payments• New remuneration out next month, says Mbam
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has laid the blame of the current huge pay of political office holders on the doorsteps of Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and urged the commission to seek a proper interpretation of its powers to enable it address the public outcry.
Similarly, the President blamed past administrations for the current situation, which forces Nigeria to spend billions of Naira annually on subsidies for petroleum products.
Speaking during a meeting with the Chairman and members of the RMAFC, President Buhari said the increase in petroleum subsidy payments over recent years was due to the deliberate neglect of the nation’s refineries, oil pipelines and other related infrastructure to allow the importation of petroleum products and corruption to thrive.
A statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu quoted the President, as expressing “huge disappointment” with the way Nigeria’s oil industry has been run since he left office as Petroleum Minister and Military Head of State, saying, he was convinced that if the development of the country’s domestic refining capacity and petroleum products distribution network had kept pace with national demand, there would not have been any need for the huge subsidies currently being paid to importers.
According to Buhari, “They allowed the infrastructure to collapse so that their cronies can steal by bringing in refined products from overseas,”
The President urged the chairman and members of the RMAFC, who availed him of their views on the vexed issued of petroleum subsidy payments, to go “back to the drawing board” and come up with more humane proposals to rescue ordinary Nigerians from the “wicked manipulation” of the country’s oil industry by corrupt operators.
Buhari also warned that severe sanctions would be visited on any individual or organisation that violates the directive on the payment of all national revenue into the federation account, otherwise called the Treasury Single Account, (TSA).
The President said that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC) the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and other MDAs, which previously relied on the laws establishing them to retain all or part of revenues collected by them, did so illegally and must now comply with the Nigerian constitution by paying all revenues into the Federation Account.
Addressing newsmen after its meeting with the president, RMAFC Chairman, Elias Mbam said a new remuneration package for political office holders would be out next month.
Mbam said the proposed exercise would put to rest media speculations about the remuneration for political office holders.