The Official Jumbo Pay of Federal Lawmakers

Bright Ewulu with reports from The Authority

CBN GOV

The Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission(RMAFC) Acting Secretary, Usman I. Garndawa, has  said that the details of the National Assembly remuneration packages were provid­ed “to avoid misinformation and misrepre­sentation of facts.”

 RMAFC said that allowances acrue­able to federal lawmakers include: accommodation, which gave each senator N4 million while each mem­ber of the House of Representatives gets N3.97 million; vehicle loan of N8 million for each senator and N7.94 for each member of House of Representatives; furniture allowance of N6 million for each senator and N5.955 for each House member and severance gratuity of N6.09 million for each senator and N5.955 million for each House of Representatives member.

Whether a lawmaker returns or not, he collects the sever­ance allowance at the end of every four years.Vehicle loan and severance gratu­ities are paid only once in four years, while accommodation allowance are paid once every year.

Other annual allowances, accord­ing to the RMAFC release include: motor vehicle fuelling and mainte­nance of N1.52 million for senators and N1.489 million for members of House of Representatives; and do­mestic allowance of N1.519 million for each senator and N1.488 million for each House member.

RMAFC disclosed that fed­eral lawmakers also earn allow­ances for personal assistants, with each senator taking home N506,600 while each member of the House of Representatives earn N496,303; for entertainment, it is N607,920, and N595,563 for each senator and mem­ber of the House of Representatives respectively and recess allowance for senators and members of the House of Representatives stood at N202,640 and N198,521 respectively.

Other allowances include: N607,920 and N397,042 for sena­tors and House members respec­tively for utilities; newspaper/peri­odicals allowance for each senator is N303,960, while each House member gets N297,781; senators earn N101,320 each for house main­tenance, while their counterparts in the House get N99,260 each; while wardrobe allowance for senators is N506,600 and N496,303 for mem­bers of the House of Representatives.

Also, senators earn  basic salaries of N2,026,400 annually, amounting to N168,866.70 per month while each member of the House goes home with N 1,985,212.50 annually and N165,434.40 per month.

Apart from the above, the lawmak­ers get constituency allowance of N5.066 million and N1.985 million for senators and House members respectively, which is paid to them  monthly .Reports say  only a few of them use the constituency allowance for what it was originally meant for – provision of certain identified projects for their constituents. Many of them allegedly collect the constituency allowance and pocket same.

  There are different sala­ries and allowances for the principal officers of the National Assembly. While the Senate President earns N2.484 as basic annual salary, the Speaker of the House goes home with N2.477. for the Senate Presi­dent, constituency allowance is N7.431 million while the Speaker gets N2.477 million, also payable ev­ery month.

  The Senate President gets paid N50,000 duty tour allow­ance and $1,300 estacode, the House Speaker receives N45,000 and $1,200 for duty tour allowance and estacode respectively, just as they also both get severance gratuity of N7.452 and N7.431 million respectively and vehicle loan of N9.936 million and N9.908 million respectively.

The Deputy Senate President also gets a basic salary of N2.309 million, constituency allowance of N5.772 million, severance gratuity of N6.927 million and vehicle loan of N9.236 million, even as he gets N42,000 for duty tour allowance and $1,100 as estacode.

Note that all federal lawmakers get 10 per cent of their basic salaries as recess allowance, which is however paid once every year. They are also alleged to collect as sitting allowance at committee levels N20,000 per sit­ting. Thus, a lawmaker who belongs to as many as four or five committees could be raking in between N80,000 and N100,000 within one week, if all the committees he belongs to sit within the week! Other allowances not specified by the RMAFC include medical, responsibility and security.

According to Garndawa : “Regular allow­ances are paid regularly with basic salaries while non-regular allow­ances are paid as at when due. For instance, furniture allowance and severance gratuity are paid once in every tenure and vehicle allowance, which is optional, is a loan which the beneficiary has to pay before the end of tenure.

“It is therefore wrong and misleading to add up allowances, ir­respective of whether they are regu­lar, refundable or non-regular as the regular annual emoluments of politi­cal public office holders.”

Dissociating itself from any other allowance apart from the above, RMAFC posited that “the commission also wishes to use this opportunity to state that any other allowance(s) enjoyed by any political, public of­fice holders outside those provided in the Remuneration Act of 2008 is not known to the commission and the chief accounting officer should be held accountable.”
From the foregoing, the remu­neration as approved by RMAFC for each senator annually, excluding estacodes of $1,200 per night (where applicable), Duty Tour Allowance of N45,000 per night and other sun­dry allowances paid as necessary, is about N19.66 million; while for each member of the House of Rep­resentatives, excluding estacodes of $900 per night (where applicable), Duty Tour Allowance of N35,000 per night and other sundry allow­ances paid as necessary, it is N18.26 million.
In addition to this, each sena­tor and House of Representatives member collects N1.01 million and N1.488 million respectively for do­mestic staff annually.
However, despite these mind-bog­gling take home, what the federal legislators pay as tax to the coffers of government is insignificant, as their taxes are calculated based on their basic salary.
Compared to other countries,the breakdown showed that the United States of America lawmak­ers earn $174,000; United King­dom parliamentarians go home with $105,000; in France, lawmak­ers make do with $85,000; German lawmakers take home $119,500; and Canadian lawmakers earn $154,000. But in Nigeria, federal lawmakers earn $181,974.

Comrade Tosin Adeyanju opined : “In terms of law­makers’ salary as ratio GDP per capi­tal, the gap is even wider. While sala­ries of Nigerian lawmakers are 116 times the country’s GDP per person, that of the British parliament mem­ber is just 2.7 times.

“The average salary of Nigerian workers based on the national mini­mum wage of N18,000 x 12 months is N216,000 per year. Remember the yearly salary of a Nigerian senator is $2,183,685. Therefore, it will take an average Nigerian worker 1,638 years to earn the yearly salary of a senator.”