Friday, June 15, 2007

Car-fest in Abuja

THE Federal Government is considering granting a loan of N3.74 billion for the 469 members of the National Assembly to buy cars of their choices. Each senator is to get N8,105,600 while those of the House of Representatives will get N7,940,848 apiece.

Also, according to a breakdown of the perquisites of office released in the National Assembly, the lawmakers are to get 75 per cent of their yearly basic pay distributed monthly to maintain their cars. In effect, each Senator will get N126,650 to maintain his car monthly, while a member of the Lower House will get N124,075 for the same purpose.

But Senate President David Mark will not benefit from the loan or maintenance allowance because he is to have eight official cars including two for personal use, two as pilot cars, and one each for protocol, ambulance, security, and the press.

Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu is to get four cars like the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The Speaker, Patricia Etteh, will also not benefit from the loan because government will provide her office with seven official cars. While Mark has two pilot cars, Etteh has one.
For their accommodation, the Federal Government will pay about N1.8 billion yearly for the next four years, with each of the lawmakers spending about N4 million each yearly to get houses in Abuja. The only exemptions are the four most senior principal officers of the National Assembly who will get official accommodation in the Apo Legislators Quarters, "because of the sensitive nature of their functions," according to government.
The government has granted a rise in allowances for lawmakers, from the federal level to the councils.

In its explanation for the increase of the accommodation allowance, the government said in a memo available to lawmakers in Abuja: "Given the current realities of the Nigerian economy, 100 per cent of the annual basic salary is inadequate to provide suitable accommodation for public officers in some parts of the country," adding that after commissioning a survey, the government has decided that the lawmakers in Abuja will get 200 per cent of their yearly basic pay while state lawmakers and councillors are to get between 45 per cent and 100 per cent.
The four heads of the National Assembly will also not benefit from the nearly N2.8 billion to be given to lawmakers to buy befitting furniture for their residences. Each member of the Upper and Lower Houses is to get 300 per cent of his or her basic pay as furniture allowance.
But the allowance will cover the four years and not to be granted yearly as speculated.
To look presentable on the floor and in public, each of the federal lawmakers is to receive a wardrobe allowance of about N500,000, representing 25 per cent of their basic yearly pay. But the amount will be distributed in their monthly take home pay. In effect they are to get a little above N20,000 each monthly for befitting clothes.

In the rules of the Senate, the presiding officer can ask an improperly dressed member out of the chamber on sitting days.

The same rule applies in the Lower House, even though it is rarely invoked.
Another amount government will pay the lawmakers is a Constituency Allowance, which the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), says is "to enable (legislators) establish and maintain offices in their respective constituencies."
The amount covers four years and will cost nearly N1.2 billion, because each senator is to get N5 million, while House members will receive a little less than N2 million.
For their utilities like electricity, gas, water, telephone, and refuse disposal, the lawmakers are to receive about N400,000 yearly but payable into their monthly salaries.
Their entertainment allowance has been raised from the previous 10 per cent to 30 per cent, meaning that with the new salary scale, the members will get about N600,000 yearly but will be paid monthly to the tune of N50,000.

After the completion of their tenure in 2011, and except reviewed, the Federal Government will pay about N2.8 billion as severance package for the 469 lawmakers. Each legislators will in 2011 receive N6 million.

In addition to these perquisites of office, the lawmakers are entitled to a Special Assistant on Civil Service Grade Level 12 or 13, and three legislative aides between Civil Service Grades level 08-09 to be paid by the National Assembly. Each lawmaker is also entitled to a personal assistant to be paid about N50,000 monthly.

From Alifa Daniel, Asst. Political Editor, Abuja


ijebuman 11:01 am  

And then we wonder why people see political office as a 'do or die affair'
i doubt if there's any other area of the economy that provides such 'generous' benefits.

I suppose if such "benefits" discourage corruption then it could be justified, but considering how greedy our politicians are, i doubt if it will make much difference.

Anonymous,  3:23 pm  

Wardrobe allowance???? Only in Nigeria..

Akin 4:41 pm  

Severance pay? These are politicians, especially in Nigeria, if your party cannot pay enough to get the election rigged in your favour - why should we pay because you lost your political office?

In a normal situation too, why should we pay for you failing to get re-elected?

This a rape of democracy, all talk about allowances settled, what about Nigerians and their problems?

To be left for the next class of parliamentarians coming in 2011.

Anonymous,  4:48 pm  

This is so depressing. so so depressing

Kpakpando 7:21 pm  

what fcukery!

Lola 9:45 am  

Please, i'm not surprised. this is the same ish that obtains at my workplace......exactly the same ish.

It's just a reflection of the society.

ababoypart2 7:04 am  

Mind-boggling. One of the reasons why I am not a big fan of Nigerian democrazy. Its pretty expensive.

Chxta 10:13 am  

Rather distasteful and sickening.

Anonymous,  1:02 am  

you've just got to admire the genius that suggested such a fitting allowance for the honourable servants of the 'people'.
long may the country and its people continue to forge ahead

The UK emigre,  3:56 pm  

I just thought I'd number crunch n and put the figures in some context.

Per annum the total payments for senators is N23,644,337 (£94,577)and for house of reps members N20,425,125 (£81700. The total over 4 years is N100,577,348 and N87,700,500

the average annual package for an MP in UK is £195,602. However the UK GDP is £1.2 quadrillion (or £1,200 billion, compared to Nigeria's £40 billion (30 times greater)

Are the Nigerian parliamentarians worth it? Based on the record of the last 4 years, definitely not. The other key issue is the (Il)legitimacy of their mandate given the extent of electoral fraud. This means that ultimately they are unaccountable for these massive allowances!!

Anonymous,  3:31 pm  

Politics in Nigeria is a means of getting wealth and thats why people are killing themselves to be elected.The politicians always claim to to have the interest of masses at heart but lo they there for their own greed and selfishness. Until the post are make less attractive and loaded with increase risk corruption and corrupt leader is inevitable.

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