Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Alhaji Muhammed Shehu has defended the reported high wages of public officers in the country, insisting that they ‘do not earn outrageous emoluments as speculated by Nigerians.’
The RMAFC boss, however, ruled out any reported salary increase for public office holders in the country, which he added is in view of the prevailing economic challenges faced by Nigerians.’
Alhaji Shehu who stated this during an interaction with the media in Abuja, further dismissed reports of salary increase in the public civil service, as ‘not true.’
Shehu was reacting to recent media report of a planned wage increment for public office holders amounting to a proposed 114 per cent increase in salaries of political office holders by the RMAFC, amid claims of biting economic hardships in the country.
While disclosing that it was the constitutional responsibility of RMAFC to determine and review the salaries of executive, legislative and judicial officers, Shehu however, clarified that public office holders’ salaries were last reviewed in 2007.
“From 2008 till date there had not been any single review. Last year, some individuals took the Federal Government to court. These were some activists concerned about the salaries of judicial officers.
“In the court, the judge ruled that a judge should be paid about N10 million a month, that was the court ruling.
“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.
“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 that 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 asked.
The RMAFC chairman said that what people considered as outrageous earnings by lawmakers were statutory office running costs, which should, ordinarily be managed centrally by the National Assembly Service Commission.
“I know some people will say members of the National Assembly get up to 10 million or 11 million monthly.
“Those are not salaries, they are like operating cost 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.
“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,” the RMAFC chief added.