Govt Officials Earn N1.126tr Yearly – Report
About N1,126,614,234,434. 38 is spent yearly on salaries and allowances of political office holders by the Federal Government, the 36 states and the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs).
The 17,774 beneficiaries include President, Vice President, Senate President, the House of Representatives Speaker, Deputy Speaker, ministers, governors, senators, members of the House of Representatives, judges, principal officers and members of the state Houses of Assembly, commissioners and local government chairmen and their councillors.
Salaries take N94.959 billion and allowances cost about N1,031,654,689,033.18 (N1.031trillion).
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Action Aid Nigeria(AAN) and 40 others have asked the Federal Government to reduce the cost of governance.
These facts are contained in a new document, “Policy Brief: Cost of Governance Series (2)”, which was compiled by the 43 civil society groups under the Citizens Wealth Platform (CWP).
Based on the statistics of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), the breakdown of the list of the 17,474 beneficiaries includes Federal Executive(472); Federal Legislature(464); Federal Judiciary(142); State Executive(2,664); State Legislature (1,152); State Judiciary(792); LGA Executive (3,096); and LGA Legislature (8,692).
The Policy Brief document reads in part: “The total number of persons benefiting from this fat remuneration in all tiers of government is put at 17, 474 and it costs the Federal Government N173.656billion every year.
“ For state governments, the total cost is N360.091billion while local governments pay N592.865billion every year.
“This raises issues of social justice and the relativity of their remuneration to that of the workers in the same Nigerian economy. The N173.656billion required at the federal level to pay these public officials who are 1,078 in number will pay the N18,000 minimum wage of 9,647,574 workers.
“Of course, the remuneration of other categories of public workers did not take into consideration the need to give them a living wage that will pay for a dignified existence.
“This foregoing raises issues of Social Justice in a country of about 170million persons; whether it is right to dedicate this quantum of resources to service thus infinitesimal percentage of the population.
“For all qualifying for this jumbo pack across the states and local governments of the federation, their number comes up to 17,474 which is 0.010 per cent of the population. The Federal government spends N173.656billion for the huge salaries which in 2015 amounts to 3.87 per cent of the budget.
“There is a wide disparity between the very low minimum wage and apparently outrageous fringe benefits and allowances of these special public officers. The salaries and allowances of these public officers are in far contrast to the minimum wage approved for Grade Level 1 civil servants.
“There should be an equitable relationship between the highest paid, lowest paid and averagely paid public officials.”
The NLC, NBA, TUC and 40 others said the opportunity cost of such a huge expenditure on political office holders is great for the nation.
The document added: “The sums spent over and above what is reasonable in maintaining these public office holders could have been spent on other items of public expenditure. What can the sum of N173.656 spent at the federal level to maintain public, political and judicial office holders pay for? A few examples will make the case for a review:
*Bi-Courtney Highway Services Limited was engaged to expand the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway to 10 lanes (five on each side of the road) from Lagos to Shagamu and six lanes from Shagamu to Ibadan. It was also expected to build trailer parks and five interchanges amongst other things at a cost of N89.5billion. Essentially, a little over 50 per cent of the sum deployed to these payments can finance the Lagos-Ibadan road project.
*At a cost of $1m per new megawatt of electricity, 50 per dent of the sum dedicated to paying these benefits can add 432.5megawatts of electricity every year.
* At a cost of N5m for a new classroom for 40 students, 50 per cent of this sum can finance 17,300 brand new classrooms.
“The Bunu Committee set up to consider the state of ongoing projects in Nigeria, identified 11,700 abandoned or ongoing projects across the country which requires over N10trillion to complete. The country needs to fund this gap by increasing capital allocations in the budget and reducing recurrent expenditure.”
On budget implementation, the document also claimed that the nation had been spending less than 23 per cent per annum on capital projects.
It said personnel cost had crossed the 40 per cent threshold.
It added: “Budget implementation, especially the capital component, has averaged less than 23 per cent per annum dud to a number of factors including paucity of funds.
“Fewer new jobs have been created while the external reserves are down. The personnel vote as a percentage of overall government expenditure over a seven-year period shows that it has crossed the 40 per cent threshold and this affects the capacity of the economy to embark on investment programmes, thus impairing growth and development of the economy.
“When personnel cost is pitched against retained revenue, it shows that personnel costs have been 54.14 per cent of the retained revenue over the last seven years.
“The foregoing leads to one inescapable conclusion-the need to reduce the cost of governance.”
The groups made some recommendations in the Policy Brief as follows:
* RMAFC and other arms of government should revise and amend the Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders(Salaries and Allowances, etc) (Amendment) Act No. 1 of 2008 so as to reduce the allowances of public and political office holders.
* The basic salaries of the Executive are reasonable and should not be reduced but the allowances and perks of office should be reduced by a minimum of 40 per cent.
* Constituency allowance of 250 per cent of basic salary for the President and Vice President respectively should be scrapped.
* The allowances and perks of office of the Judiciary should be retained since their works demand probity and incorrigibility at the highest level.
* The considerations for the above review should be tied to current economic realities and macroeconomic fundamentals and be relative to the salaries, remuneration and allowances of other public servants.
*The review of the salaries and emoluments of public office holders should be done at more frequent intervals. A review every four years us recommended.
*New laws reviewing the allowances of political, public and judicial office holders should no longer be made to have retroactive effect.
*Considering the need to improve health services in Nigeria, Federal Government should consider a ban on overseas medical treatment for public officials using public resources.”