RMAFC: Senators earn N12m yearly, Reps N9m

By The Citizen

The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) said yesterday that a Senator in Nigeria earns N12, 766,320 yearly.

It also confirmed that a member of the House of Representatives takes a total salary of N9, 529,038.06, including the regular allowances.

Legislators' pay has been the subject of a big controversy, with some critics alleging that a senator earns as much as N29.8 million yearly.

This follows a report by The Economist  that compared the salaries and allowances of Nigeria's public office holders with those of the developed countries, concluding that Nigeria's public office holders are the highest paid in the world, followed by Kenya, Ghana and Indonesia in that order. The public officers in Norway, Spain and Sri Lanka earn the lowest in the world.

As reported by The Economist, a Nigerian legislator, it was alleged, earns a basic salary (excluding allowances) of about N29.8 million per annum. The report also suggested that the salary is 116 times more than the country's Gross Domestic Product, GDP, per person, which has been pegged at about N251, 200.

However, the RMAFC in a newspaper advertorial yesterday said this is not correct.

In a statement signed by the Acting Secretary to the Commission, Usman I. Garndawa, the RMAFC said: 'The attention of the RMAFC has been drawn to an avalanche of media reports concerning the current remuneration package for political, public and Judicial office holders in Nigeria. The said reports further quoted RMAFC as the source of their information. Accordingly, the Commission, therefore, considers it most appropriate and necessary to provide the actual details of present remuneration package for political, public and judicial office holders to avoid misinformation and misrepresentation of facts capable of misleading citizens and members of the international community.'

The RMAFC said a senator earns N2,026,400.00 as annual basic salary, which translates to N168, 866.70 per month.

According to the RMAFC, this has been the official remuneration package since February 2007 till date.

However, there are other regular allowances which have been calculated as: Motor Vehicle Fuelling and Maintenance, N1,519,800.00; personal assistant N506,600.00, Domestic Staff N1,519,800.00; Entertainment N607,920.00;Utilities N607,920.00; Newspapers/Periodicals N303,960.00, Wardrobe N506,600.00; House Maintenance N101,320.00 and Constituency allowance N5,066,000.00 making a total of N12,766,320.00 as the salary per annum for a Senator.

The breakdown monthly- basic salary and allowances - a senator takes home N1.063.860.00 monthly.

A member of the House of Representatives takes home N794,088.83 only.

Other allowances, which are paid annually or once in four years and when applicable, are: Accommodation N4, 052,800.00, which is paid annually; furniture allowance N6, 079,200.00 which is paid once in four years. Also, there is Duty Tour Allowance, DTA (per night), which is N37,000. Estacode (per night) is $950. Recess allowance is N202,640.00 and severance gratuity, paid after a successful completion of tenure, is N6,079,200.00. A Senator could also apply for a car loan of N8, 105,600.00 which must be repaid before the expiration of his tenure.

A member of the House of Representatives earns slightly lower than a Senator, with a basic yearly salary of N1,985,212.50, divided into a monthly salary of N165,434.40. However, the total salary, including the regular allowances, is N9, 529,038.06. This is outside the other allowances, which include: Accommodation N3,970,425.00; Furniture N5,955,637.50; DTA N35,000; Estacode $900; Recess N198,521.25 and Severance Gratuity N5,955,637.50. A Representative can also apply for a car loan of N7,940,850.00.

According to the RMAFC, the emoluments for ministers, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Head of Service and Chairmen of Constitutional Bodies are close to those of the Senators with a basic annual salary of N2, 026,400.00 and a total annual take-home pay of N7, 801,640.00 minus other allowances which include: Accommodation, furniture, DTA, estacode, severance gratuity, leave bonus and car loan - all amounting to about N24, 695, 40.00, per annum.

Minister of State and members of constitutional bodies earn an annual basic salary of N1957, 580.00 and a total annual salary of N7, 536,683.00. Like the Minister, the Minister of State also earns special allowance package, which includes: Accommodation N3,915,160.00, Furniture N5,872,740.00, DTA N30,000 (per night), Estacode $900 ( per night), Severance Gratuity N5,872,740.00, Leave Allowance N195,758.00 and a car loan of N7,830,320.00.

The RMAFC said the remuneration package, which is contained in the Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders Salaries and Allowances etc, (Amendment) Act of 2008, states the actual amount being paid to legislators and other public officers, adding, however that 'any other allowance (s) enjoyed by any political, public office holder outside those provided in the Remuneration Act of 2008 is not known to the Commission and the Chief Accounting Officer should be held accountable'.