As the issue of the proposed hike in the quarterly allowances for members of the House of Representatives continues to generate heat, their Upper House counterparts have started agitating for a similar raise. THISDAY reports that several senators have launched a campaign for a 100 per cent increase in their individual share of the quarterly disbursements said to have been “built” into the 2010 budget. The increase, if agreed to by the
Senate leadership, would see the allocations jump from N45 million to N90 million per senator per quarter.
Members of the House of Representatives want N45MM and senators want N95MM. Add it up and divide by number of bills passed in the past 3 years and you will figure that we ARE running a USELESS, VERY EXPENSIVE and NON PRODUCTIVE legislature.
I suggest that we consider a part time citizen legislature. A legislature of people who can and wish to serve Nigeria in law making capacities WITHOUT pay for 100 days in every year.
This National Assembly will finish Nigeria at the rate they are going!!!
According to THISDAY, Shortly before they proceeded on their two-week recess, one of the arrow heads of the pro-100 per cent quarterly allowance hike sent out text messages to his colleagues, asking them to mount pressure on the leadership to increase their quarterly allowances.
In the text message, the Senator said to come from one of the North central states, maintained that there is enough money in the pool of the Senate to finance the upward review.
The ring leader added in his text message that “if the pressure on the Senate President was sustained, he would cave in and agree to our request especially since this is an election year and Senators need more money for election purposes.”
Officially, the Revenue Mobilisaion Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) has awarded Senators an annual basic salary of N2, 484,242.50 (two million, four hundred and eighty four thousand, two hundred and fourty two naira, fifty kobo) with other allowances like accommodation 200 per cent of basic annual salary; vehicle maintenance 75 per cent; entertainment 30 per cent and utility allowance 30 per cent of basic.
Other allowances calculated as a percentage of basic salary are: personal assistant 25 per cent; wardrobe 25 per cent; domestic staff 75 per cent; recess 10 per cent; newspapers 15 per cent and constituency allowance 250 per cent.
Other occasional allowances and perks consist of furniture allowances which is 300 per cent of annual basic salary but payable only once in tenure at the commencement of duty; severance gratuity after their tenure in office at 300 per cent while vehicle loan was pegged at 400 per cent and repayable in six years.
Over all, each senator is entitled to a gross annual salary of N22,606,606.75 or N1,883,882.9 per month.
However, in the past few years, the Senators have received an extra N48 million every quarter, according, to a principal officer although some other Senators insisted that it is only N45 million that is regularly credited into their bank accounts.
It was however, gathered that although the leadership was desirous of pleasing the members so as to maintain the peace that the chamber has enjoyed since 2007, there was disquiet because indications are that they may not be able to meet the demand.
A member of the opposing camp in the vanguard of getting the increment insisted that should the leadership fail to implement the raise, a crisis similar to the one currently faced in the House of Representative may surface.
Buttressing his point on the ability of the Senate leadership to pay the increment, the Senator presented the approved budget of the Senate for the 2010 fiscal year which he said, was seriously padded to cater for the Senators and supplement the ‘meagre salaries’ that they are paid according to RMAFC.
According to him, many of the expenditure items were made in triplicates to cater for the Senate, the House and the last would be devoted to causes like electricity or pay water rates or purchase of books for the library.
For instance, N200 million was approved for the National Assembly office to purchase information, video conferencing and printing equipment while yet another N500 million was approved for the same project for Senators.
National Assembly Office (NASS) has N108 million to settle electricity charges while Senate has yet N50 million for the same; NASS to spend N42, 592,000 on water rates, Senate got N3 million for same.
NASS got N52.5 million to purchase book and periodicals for the library, Senate got N166.2 million for the same project with Senate getting yet another expenditure sub-head of N300 million to purchase books and shelves and N25 million for an electronics library in the Senate President’s Office. Yet, the NASS office got another N100 million to purchase books for NASS library.