By NBF News

President Goodluck Jonathan has formally asked the Senate to raise the salaries and allowances of the National Security Adviser, Patrick Azazi and the Chief Economic Adviser, Prof. Precious Kassey Garba to align with those enjoyed by ministers.

The pay rise, reasoned the president, would not only enhance the productivity of the two officials, it would also boost their capacity for service delivery to the nation.

In a July 7 letter addressed to Senate President David Mark, the president urged the upper legislative house to consider the volume of work done by the two officials and raise their present remuneration and allowances.

'I write to request the distinguished Senate to pass a resolution upgrading the salaries and allowances of the chief economic adviser and the national security adviser to be at par with that of ministers as per the powers conferred on you by Section 151 (2) of the 1999 Constitution.

'My request is predicated on the peculiar nature of the functions the holders of these offices perform. These officials, among other things, chair committees and bodies whose membership include serving ministers, in addition to their participating at council meetings.

'I am certain that acceding to this request in the manner I solicit will enhance the capacity of the office holders to operate as tasked and impact positively on service delivery.'

Section 151 (2) reads : 'The number of advisers and their remuneration and allowances shall be as prescribed by law or by resolution of the National Assembly.'

Meanwhile, Senate has said that contrary to reports, there has been no pay cut in the salaries of members of the National Assembly.

Senate Leader Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN) told newsmen after yesterday's plenary that the National Assembly agreed by mutual consent to cut its overheads, which include allowances and funds to run individual offices by as much as 40 percent.

He reiterated that the collective decision of the NASS to cut the overheads by as much as 40 percent would help reduce the cost of governance, which he hoped other arms of government would emulate.

His words: 'Our pay has not been cut. What was cut is our overheads, our salaries have not been cut. It was a decision of the National Assembly. We decided to reduce the cost of governance; we have taken the lead and we hope that other arms of government would follow. What was cut by 40 percent is the overheads or cost of running the National Assembly which some of you call jumbo pay.'

Senator Ndoma-Egba equally noted that all arms of government have the responsibility to ensure that 'the high cost of governance' is addressed in line with the trail-blazing effort of the National Assembly.