House of Reps Cut Running Cost by 63 per cent

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Following the decision of the Senate to cut the running cost of the upper legislative House by 40 per cent, the House of Representatives says it has reduced its own running cost of members' offices by 63 per cent. The revelation was made by the chairman, Ad-Hoc Committee on Media of the House, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, in an interactive session with journalists claiming that the unilateral decision of the members to review downward the running cost is meant to meet the yearnings and protests of Nigerians concerning the way they ran the National Assembly.  

  The former Commissioner of Information and Strategy in Lagos state stressed that the downward review was not related to the salaries of the legislators which was fixed by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).  

  Questions concerning the emoluments and other packages for the legislators were first raised by the Governor of Central Bank, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and since then Nigerians have raised alarm with different opinions concerning the remuneration. Constitutional lawyer, Professor Itse Sagay, also expressed reservation over it claiming that the average Nigerian legislator earned the highest salaries in the world compared to their colleagues in other countries of the world.  

  The remuneration package for political, public and judicial office holders between February 2007 to June 2009 showed that for the House of Representatives, the Speaker gets N4, 954,220 as total annual emolument, out of which N2, 477,110 is for annual basic salary, N2,477,110 for constituency allowance; while other allowances are to be provided.  

  The Speaker is also entitled to N247,711 annual leave; N7,431,330 or 300 percent of ABS as severance gratuity (after successful tenure); N9,908,440 or 400 percent for vehicle loan; N35,000 duty tour when applicable and $1,000 as estacode per night when he is on official duties. Each lawmaker in the House gets N9,529,020 as total annual emolument, out of which N1,985,212.5 is for annual basic salary; N1,488,909.38 (75% of ABS) for vehicle maintenance/fuelling; N496,303.13 (25%) for personal assistant; N99,260.63 (5% of ABS) for house maintenance; N1,488,909.38 (75%) for domestic staff; N595,563.75 (30%) for entertainment; N595,563.75 (30%) for utilities; N1,985,212.5 (100%) for constituency allowance; N496,303.13 (25%) for robe and N297,781.88 (15%) for newspapers.  

  Each of them is also entitled to an additional sum of N3,970,425 or 200 percent for accommodation; N5,955,637.5 or 300 percent for furniture payable once in four years; M198,521.25 for annual leave; N5,955,637.5 or 300 percent for severance gratuity after successful tenure; N7,940,850 or 400 percent for vehicle loan; N21,000 for duty tour per night when applicable and $550 estacode per night when they perform official duties.  

  But Bamidele did not disclose the exact amount that would be used to run the House this year.  

  The lower chamber may have taken a clue from the Senate when it did not allow the cut to affect their salaries and allowance.