The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, has reiterated the need for the slashing of allowances and salaries of elected Public officials as the economic situation bites harder with its attendant pains on the people.
Media reports recently revealed that members of the National Assembly alone have received a total of 6.78bn naira as salaries and allowances in the past one year even as the economy nose-dives into recession.
The Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran described the remuneration packages which include annual salaries, accommodation, vehicle maintenance, domestic staff, entertainment and utilities allowances as outrageous considering the present the prevailing situation. He said “as a matter of fact, their remunerations had hitherto been outrageous and unfair, and that is why the strident calls to slash the bogus remuneration of elected public officials as a way of reducing the cost of governance has been a public outcry for long.”
The allowances include constituency allowances, annual leave allowance, hardship allowance, wardrobe, newspapers and responsibilities allowances etc. The reports show that Senators receives of 2.02m naira annually, while a member of House of Representative gets 1.98m naira the basic salary of the Senate President is 2.48m naira etc.
Mr. Adeniran said, “these bogus allowances are being enjoyed by not just the National Assembly members but also by all other elected public officials with minimal differentials in what accrue to them generally. The unfairness and insensitivity to the majority that are wallowing in economic pangs in the country is clearly reflecting in the unwillingness of those in political office to abandon greed and selfishness, and to also self-deny as required by the state of the economy.”
“Some other countries like Senegal, in 2012, following economic challenges and expediency of the social needs of the people of the country in terms of priorities, Senegalese lawmakers, who were divided between a 150-seat National assembly and a 100-seat Senate, voted to do away with the Senate and passed a law which dissolved the institution in order to save an estimated $15 million. This was a decision intended to curb government spending and spend more on the ordinary Senegalese.” Adeniran said in drawing comparison between Nigeria and Senegal to back CACOL’s position.
He concluded saying “If truly Nigeria is in serious economic crisis, it is then the right time to cut the cost of governance at all levels. Government must demonstrate that; truly the interest of the poor masses is a priority beyond personal ostentatious living of a few amidst a vast majority who are living in penury. Government must move beyond excuses, rhetorics and repeated failed promises. That is the only way that government can lead by example and express in reality its claim that it understands the pains of the masses.”
Media Coordinator, CACOL