New pay for public officials

Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, Mr. Elias Mbam PHOTO: thelead.com.ng

Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, Mr. Elias Mbam<br />PHOTO: thelead.com.ng

AS the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) prepares new remunerations for public officers, it must keep in mind that these are not the best of times for Nigeria and the season calls for serious belt-tightening. An end must therefore come to sumptuous treatment of public office-holders in the face of the hardship the rest of the citizens endure.

The public officers whose salaries and allowances are under review include the President, Vice President, members of the National Assembly, state governors, ministers, commissioners and special advisers.

Nigerians expect the recommendations of the commission to reflect  the nation’s economic realities, for, with the crash in the international prices of crude oil, the nation can no longer sustain profligacy in public  offices. In fact, the current austere times have imposed on  the citizens and those who want to serve them the necessity of  reconciling  themselves to the fact that  public office is for service to the nation and the citizens. The nation’s economy can no longer accommodate sinecurists.

Thus beyond just fixing new salaries and allowances, the commission should clear the opaqueness that surrounds the remunerations of public officers. It must allow the citizens to know how much those in government are earning as the existing secrecy around the remunerations of public officers has become a veritable ground for corruption.

To a large extent, the bogus salaries of public officers do not do as much damage to the nation’s revenues as their allowances. Many public officers have made these allowances open-ended in such a manner that  they can easily hide anything under such to take as much for themselves from the public till as they want. And the nation is doubly jeopardised  because these allowances are not taxed. Thus the allowances should be clearly spelt out by the commission. The ones that are unnecessary should be expunged from the list. For instance, it is ridiculous that public officers are paid something called hardship allowances when the bulk of the citizens are afflicted by the hardship that is occasioned by their leaders’ mismanagement of public resources. And what is the rationale for wardrobe allowances when most of the citizens cannot clothe  themselves as a result of their  penury?

The biggest pot from which public officers, especially legislators, draw the most sumptuous loot is perhaps the so-called constituency allowances. This is often misappropriated and does not improve the well-being of the citizens. Indeed, what Nigerians need is good governance that would  really improve their economic well-being and not token gestures of  care from  their  public officers.

One way to stop the use of allowances as a conduit for corruption  is  for the commission to state the specific amounts of money that could be paid at a given period. In this regard, the budget of the National Assembly should be made transparent and the committees of the assembly should be pruned. This should also be adopted in the states. This is because the  bloated size of the committees as it exists now is a drain on  the nation’s  revenues and given the extortionist tendencies of many in the guise of legislative oversight, they are avenues for perpetrating corruption.

Nigerian public officers must take a cue from their counterparts in enlightened parts of the world where the watchwords in public service are accountability and responsibility. They must learn from other public officers who do not create unnecessary barriers between themselves and the citizens through opulent lifestyles. There is nothing that makes them more important than the citizens they have put in office to serve.

The RMAFC may be the body the nation’s constitution empowers to fix the remunerations of public officers. But in view of the need for more prudence and accountability in the light of the depleted revenues of the country,  it would not be out of place for the recommendations of the commission to  be subjected to further scrutiny. After all, there is the danger that RMAFC may end up fixing the same ridiculously high remunerations  for themselves as well as other public officers. But the solution to this can be found in the President raising a separate body of  distinguished Nigerians and experts to vet  the recommendations of the commission on pay for everybody. Such a body would determine if the recommendations truly reflect the nation’s  economic realities as well as work-to-remuneration ratio, and, backed by the force of law, that body should help ensure Nigeria walks the path of prudence.

Anyone who considers such remunerations as recommended by that body inadequate will do well not to get into public office. For public office is a privilege, an opportunity for service and not an avenue for self-aggrandisement.



2 Comments
  • emmanuel kalu

    This article is straight to the point. allowances should be cut down by 50%. it doesn’t matter how small their actual salaries are, if you get allowance for everything, then your salary because huge, because you never get to use it. why is Nigeria taxpayer paying for newspaper, for clothing, for vehicles. all this should be cut down or completely eliminated. staff budget should be completely reduced as it is not just allowance or salaries that is the reason for our huge governing cost. it is the size of government. why does a minister need four cars, and every official in that ministry get a car or two with drivers. only the ministers, PM should be given government cars with one driver and one security personnel.

  • Yemi Amodu

    Sterling Homes ltd selling Plots and Acres of Land at Hebron
    Garden Estate, Lekki, Lagos.

    Hebron garden estate is owned by Sterling homes Ltd and it’s
    completely free from “omo-onile” and government acquisition. Land
    mass: more than 10acres. Land type: dry, sandy and leveled. Location: Lekki,
    about 6minutes drive to Eleko beach and 15minutes drive to Lekki free trade
    zone. There are several notable Landmarks before the estate. These include, The
    Lagos Business School, Crown Estate, Farapark, Sapphire Garden, Green Springs
    School and Shares immediate environment with Mayfair Gardens and Beechwood
    Estate & lots more. PAYMENT PLAN FOR 440 SQM: *Smart plan: Outright payment
    #2.8m. *Easy Plan: ‎#3m. Spread #210,000 for 10months after the initial deposit
    of #900,000. And for 550 SQM: * Smart
    Plan: Outright payment #3.7m. *Easy Plan: #4m. Spread #280,000 for 10months
    after the initial deposit of #1.2m. For more information and site inspection,
    contact: yemi@sterlinghomesltd| Plot 2, River Valley Estate, Ojodu, Berger.|
    Mobile: 07084546154, 08136119495

    Sterling Homes Ltd selling Plots of Land for sale at Moriah
    estate Ikorodu, Lagos.

    Moriah Park is strategically situated within Ikorodu, Lagos.
    The estate is located at Agbowa, Ikorodu and it’s just beside the Lagos State
    Housing Estate Ikorodu Lagos, popularly known as “Fashola Estate”. The land in
    the estate is measured 60 x 120ft standard plots or 648sqm with good
    topography. The land in this estate is free from omo onile activities and any
    known government acquisition. it’s owned
    by Sterling Homes LTD, RC: 894767. This estate has good road network, a table
    land, and it’s motor-able during the rainy season. Electricity poles, borehole,
    has been provided within the estate in due time. Special feature also includes
    a free architectural design. The promotional price is N750,000 outright for
    smart payment and for Flex payment is #200,000 at first installment then spread
    #100,000 for 7months at the total of #900,000 and for Easy payment is #68,750
    spread for 16months at the total of #1.1m. For more enquiries and site
    inspections Contact: yemi@sterlinghomesltd.com| Mobile: 07084546154, 08136119495|
    Plot 2, River Valley Estate, Ojodu Berger Lagos.

    Sterling Homes ltd selling Plots and Acres of Land at Havilah
    Park and Garden Estate, Mowe, Ogun State……

    This estate is more than 120 acres, located at Mowe, close
    to Redemption Camp Ogun State. A unique location, with easy access to Berger
    and Lagos-Ibadan expressway; it is estimated to be maximum of 6 minute drive to
    link Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. The estate is a product good thinking meeting
    opportunity. It is designed to satisfy the desire of the middle-class who loves
    aesthetics and splendor. Title on the Land: Registered survey and approved
    layout plan Infrastructure: – Perimeter Fencing – Sewage disposal system –
    Electricity – Ultra modern borehole – Recreational facilities. – Environmental
    Security – Good Road Network, etc Payment plan • Outright payment is 630,000 •
    Instalment payment is a deposit of 100k and balance spread for 20months at 30k
    monthly. For more enquiry Contact yemi@ Sterlinghomesltd.com| Plot 2, River
    Valley Estate, Ojodu Berger |Mobile: 07084546154, 08136119495

Related