The salaries of elected officials and judges will undergo an upward review despite strident calls to prune recurrent expenditure of government amid slew of newly promulgated policies that have forced a huge chunk of the citizens into austerity.
To this end, the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), has charged the 36 states’ Houses of Assembly to put in place legislative framework that will herald the increment of the remuneration packages for political, judicial and public officers.
The Chairman of RMAFC Muhammadu Shehu, gave the charge during the presentation of reports of the reviewed remuneration package to Kebbi State governor, Dr Nasir Idris, on Tuesday in Birnin Kebbi.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that work by the State Houses of Assembly will allow for the commencement of implementation of the reviewed remuneration packages for political, public and judicial officers.
The RMAFC chairman, represented by the Federal Commissioner, Rakiya Tanko-Ayuba, an indigene of Kebbi State, presented the report to the governor during a courtesy visit at the Government House, Birnin Kebbi.
Shehu said the move was in line with the provision of Paragraph 32(d) of Part 1 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Government (as amended).
He said, “It empowers the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission to determine the remuneration appropriate for political office holders, including the President, Vice President, Governors, Deputy Governors, Ministers, Commissioners, Special Advisers, Legislators and the holders of the offices mentioned in Sections 84 and 124 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Shehu said the last review of the remuneration was carried out in 2007, which culminated in the Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances, etc.) (Amendment) Act, 2008.
“16 years after the last review, it is imperative that the Remuneration Packages for the categories of the office holders mentioned in relevant Sections of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) should be reviewed.
“Pursuant to the above, Your Excellency may please recall that on Wednesday, 1st February, 2023, the Commission held a one-day zonal public hearing on the review of the remuneration package simultaneously in all the six (6) geo-political zones of the country.
“The aim of the exercise was to harvest inputs/ideas from a broad spectrum of stakeholders,” he said.
According to the chairman, the commission has reviewed the remuneration packages as contained in these reports based on a combination of subjective and objective criteria.
“The subjective criteria reflected the various expression by stakeholders through memoranda received, opinion expressed during the zonal public hearings and responses to questionnaires administered.
“The objectives of the criteria were obtained from analysis of macro-economic variables particularly the Consumer Price Index (CPI),” he noted.
He added that the commission was also guided by some principles, including equity and fairness; risk and responsibilities; national order of precedence; motivation and tenure of office.
Shehu said that having considered the impact of the review on the economy, the remuneration of the political, public and judicial office holders in the country was adjusted upward by 114%.
He said that with respect to allowances and fringe benefits, the commission recommended that the existing allowances be maintained at the current levels since that would translate to higher provisions in actual amounts when applied on the reviewed annual basic salary.
The chairman explained that with respect to the judicial office holders, the commission considered the introduction of three new allowances.
He listed the allowances to include, “Professional Development Assistant: This is to allow for the provision of two law clerks to all judicial officers in the country.
“Long Service Allowance: This is to guarantee seniority/hierarchy between officers who have been on the bench for a minimum of five years and those that are appointed newly.
“Restricted or Forced Lifestyle: This is to take care of the nature of the lifestyle of judicial officers while in active service.”
Shehu said that the commission recommended January 1, 2023, as the effective date for the commencement of the implementation of the reviewed remuneration packages.