As Nigerians continue to demand the reduction in cost of governance by through the cutting of the allowances of political office holders, SaharaReporters takes a look at 10 things the jumbo pay of Nigerian federal lawmakers can fix in the country.
After the senators succeeded in keeping their pay and allowances away from Nigerians for years, a former Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Shehu Sani, in March 2018, mustered the courage to reveal the senators’ salary and allowances.
Sani revealed in a statement that Nigerian Senators are earning N13.5million monthly as running cost. The lawmaker said the running cost was in addition to the over N750,000 monthly consolidated salary and allowances of each member of the Senate.
He himself kicked against payment of the allowances, saying Senators ought to be paid only their salaries.
“I think what we can say is that the running cost of a senator is N13.5 million every month. Though no specific instruction on what the fund should be used for, lawmakers must provide receipts to back up their expenses from the running costs.
“The running cost is in addition to funds earmarked for each senator for constituency projects. But what I am saying is that money (N13.5 million per month) must be receipted for what you do with it. But what you are given to go and spend without any accountability is N750,000.00. The constituency project itself is given on a zonal basis and almost every Senator will go with a constituency fund of about N200 million, but it is not the cash that is given to you. You will be told that you have N200 million with an agency of government for which you will now submit projects equivalent to that amount. And it is that agency of government that will go and do those projects for you.
“Now, the corruption comes when the projects are not done and the money is taken. But right now, it is difficult to do that because transparency groups have come into it.
“They track every allocation made to you and where they are being used. So, it’s becoming difficult for what used to happen in the past to happen now. But I can tell you that I would love a situation where we do away with running costs, constituency projects and leaves senators and members of House of Reps with salaries,” Sani had said.
SaharaReporters details 10 areas the federal lawmakers’ jumbo pay could be reasonably expended to cut down the cost of governance.
It Can Pay Salaries Of 450 Workers
One, a senator’s N13.5million monthly allowance for running cost can pay the N30,000 minimum wage of 450 Nigerian workers.
Only yesterday, the country had been thrown into a nationwide protest when the labour leaders raised their voices over a bill which seeks to remove the minimum wage negotiations from the exclusive legislative list.
Workers across 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory staged protests to register their opposition to the bill, which they claimed, was aimed at frustrating the minimum wage negotiations and bringing non-uniformity in workers’ earnings.
It Can Pay The Salaries Of 26 Professors
Two, a senator’s N13.5million monthly allowance can pay the salaries of 26 professors in Nigerian universities. A professor currently earns between N381,695 and N501,680 monthly in federal universities, going by the Federal Government Salary Scale Structure in universities.
It Can Pay N10, 000 Bursary For 1,350 Varsity Students
Three, a senator’s N13.5million monthly allowance can go round 1,350 university students as N10,000 bursary each per semester or per session.
If the 106 senators’ allowances are summed up which makes N1.4 billion monthly, it will go round 143,100 students as bursaries – a move which if done by the Nigerian government will gladden the hearts of many parents and families.
A Senator's Salary Can Pay For 60 Doctors In Federal Teaching Hospitals
Four, a senator’s N13.5million monthly allowance will pay the salaries of 60 doctors in Nigerian federal teaching hospitals and medical centres.
In a report done by Guardian in September 2020, of all 55 African countries, Nigerian doctors are among the least paid.
Doctors under federal government employment in Nigeria earn a gross monthly salary of between N195,000 and N220,000, while their colleagues in states earn between N150,000 and N240,000.
It Can Build A Block Of Six Classrooms
Five, a senator’s N13.5million monthly allowance will erect and finish a block of six classrooms for a modern primary school in any average location across the country.
Six, the combined N13.5million allowances of the senators at N1.4 billion monthly can buy modern equipment in selected federal and state hospitals nationwide.
Others are that the senators’ jumbo allowances can fix the rural electrification of remote communities, the building of hospitals in communities where there are none; the provision of potable water in areas where there is water crisis and the empowerment of local farmers and farms to reap more produce for the food sufficiency of the country.