“I reduced my convoy to five vehicles and you cannot buy fuel unless I’m in the car.”—Peter Obi, former Anambra State Governor
Since the economic challenges facing Nigeria started, I’ve heard more than sufficient solutions on how the acclaimed giant of Africa could get out of it.
Recession has always been part of ordinary Nigerian masses anyway due to dysfunctional policies. But the 2016 recession is harsher.
I love Nigerian politicians when I listened to how they coined both economic and political jargons all in their bid to get us out of the economic mess.
It tells me how much they have Nigeria’s love at heart.
Most of them are Federal lawmakers who have been accused of “faaaaaat” salaries and allowances huge enough to compete favourably with the National Budget of some smaller Africa countries.
And don’t forget: When you hear a mention of Nigeria’s National Assembly, the first set of thoughts that comes to mind include insensitive needless allowances-newspaper allowance, entertainment allowance, personal aid allowance, clothing allowance, car allowance, house allowance and other non-existent allowances.
In a recent newspaper report by The Nation, the Senate President Bukola Saraki on behalf of the Legislative Arm was quoted to have offered a 20-point resolution to President Muhammadu Buhari-led Executive Arm.
Sign of good people, great nation.
The resolutions were aimed at one thing: To overcome Nigeria’s economic recession.
When I read the resolutions, it contains none of the cries of the Nigerian masses who have been making ceaseless noise about the need for Nigerian senators to cut their salaries and allowances.
“Already, as you have seen, we have sat down to address the important issue which is the economy. We have come out with about 20 point resolutions to the executive that we think they should do. We also have about four for ourselves. And we have started doing it already.
“At the last session, we started addressing some of these issues that we are sure will make us come out of this recession in a short while.
“We will start preparing for 2017 budget to ensure that there will be releases of funds that would be spent to do that,” Senate President Bukola Saraki said.
In spite of the economic hardship common Nigerians pass through everyday Nigerian lawmakers are unperturbed, rather they allocate to themselves imprecise constituency projects.
They’ve also failed to make public their salaries and allowances.
Nigerians only rely on a several unconfirmed reports which have highlighted the details of the remuneration of an average Nigerian Senator (which they’ve not disputed) as follows:
|Remuneration of an average Nigerian Senator|
|Basic Salary (B.S)||N2,484,245.50|
|Hardship Allowance (50% of B.S)||N1,242,122.70|
|Constituency Allowance (200% of B.S)||N4,968,509.00|
|Newspapers Allowance (50% of B.S)||N1,242,122.70|
|Wardrobe Allowance (25% of B.S)||N621,061.37|
|Recess Allowance (10% of B.S)||N248,424.55|
|Accommodation (200% of B.S)||N4,968,509.00|
|Utilities (30% of B.S)||N828,081.83|
|Domestic Staff (70% of B.S)||N1,863,184.12|
|Entertainment (30% of B.S)||N828,081.83|
|Personal Assistants (25% of B.S)||N621,061.12|
|Vehicle Maintenance Allowance (75% of B.S)||N1,863,184.12|
|Leave Allowance (10% of B.S)||N248,424.55|
|Severance Gratuity (300% of B.S)||N7,452,736.50|
|Car Allowance (400% of B.S)||N9,936,982.00|
|TOTAL MONTHLY SALARY = N29,479,749.00|
|TOTAL YEARLY SALARY = N29,479,749.00 x12 = N353,756,988.00|
And don’t be surprised when you hear that recession allowance has been smuggled into the 2017 budget.
Much noise have been made about the senators’ pay, it now seems that Nigerians have taken the Federal Lawmakers, Lawmakers in their various states as “one” of their multi-faceted burdens.
They have to bear it!
On October 1, 2016, I listened to how Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, (pardon me if I forgot to use “Honourable”) spoke with passion and patrotism in Gombe State on how Nigeria could get out of her current economic challenges.
Yes! We need to get out of it in the spirit of building the nation.
Of all the suggestions that have been offered, none of the distinguished lawmakers, or honourables or ministers offered to cut their pay.
None of them has donated their salaries to the federation purse for the government to implement projects that will continue to touch the lives of the ordinary Nigerian man.
Nigerians are still awaiting the promises of some of the ministers, prior to their appointment, who declared that they could serve without monthly salaries.
On how to get out of recession, the senate president said:
“We will start preparing for 2017 budget to ensure that there will be releases of funds that would be spent to do that.”
What an economic succor to the entire nation!
I hear that the presidency still maintains nine aircrafts and some helicopters in its fleet. I had expected President Muhammadu Buhari to reduce it by more than 50% when he assumed office, particularly during this economic hard time.
“The only way out of recession is to spend for growth. You can only spend for growth either from savings or from borrowing. The question is: what are you borrowing for? Are you borrowing for consumption or for production? When you borrow for consumption, you are heading for disaster.”—Peter Obi, former Anambra State Governor.
Recession, man-made or not, decisive actions not political speeches nor blame games of the politicians will get Nigeria out of it.
Nigeria needs to review her fiscal policy. Doing this requires economic-prudence inputs of the legislature, executive, and the judiciary. No matter how dictatorial and firm a president is, he would be frustrated if he didn’t get the supports-or has the faithful input-of his subordinates.
The time is now to ACT!
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