Saturday, May 16, 2015

N9bn for Buhari’s ministers, lawmakers, outraged Nigerians speak out

A cross section of Nigerians have condemned the planned payment of about N9bn as perks to ministers and lawmakers who will assume office in the government of President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), as recently reported by PUNCH.   
The newspaper on May 9, 2015, in an investigative report, said lawmakers to constitute the 8th National Assembly and ministers to be appointed by Buhari would receive N9bn as perks on assumption of office.
The perks include housing, furniture and motor vehicle allowances, among others.
For instance, the housing allowance for the lawmakers is 200 per cent of their annual salaries; furniture is 300 per cent and motor vehicle loan is 400 per cent.
The readers questioned the payment of such allowances at a time the country’s revenue has dipped.
Chika Kema Junior, one of the readers, said, “All these furniture, car, whatever allowances are unnecessary. I still recommend pay as you go allowances for senators and members of the House of Representatives.
“That is, payment should be done based on sitting, and shouldn’t be more than N300, 000 for senators and N200, 000 for members of the House of Representatives.
“Minister for state positions should be scrapped immediately as they are wasteful. Ministers’ salary should not be more than N150, 000 per month. However, they can have leverage in the purchase of houses or cars since they are government servants.”
Another Nigerian, Michael Akinmola, described the allowance package for the lawmakers and ministers as “alarming” and “ridiculous.”
He said, “Are all these lawmakers living in another planet apart from the one we all live? If the answer is no, I see no reason why these salaries and allowances should not be reduced with immediate effect.
“This is one of the causes of corruption in the society. It is also one of the major reasons why politics in Nigeria has become a do or die affairs.”
Incidentally, state civil servants in many states across the country are being owed salaries following the recent fall in oil prices, fuelling the resentment felt by some Nigerians towards the allowances.

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