Against the backdrop of the current economic recession, members of the National Assembly (NASS) comprising senators and members of the House of Representatives have received a total sum of N6.78 billion as their official emoluments in the last one year.
A report obtained by a periodic publication called ‘Economic Confidential’ and published on its website yesterday, revealed the legitimate remunerations of the federal lawmakers as approved by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).
According to the reputable economic intelligence magazine, the remuneration packages covered annual salaries, accommodation, vehicle maintenance and fuel, personal assistants, house maintenance, domestic staff, entertainment and utilities allowances.
Other allowances are constituency allowance, annual leave, hardship allowance, wardrobe, newspapers and responsibility allowances.
A careful scrutiny of the report shows that each Senator has annual basic salary of N2.02m while a member of the House of Representative receives N1.98m as annual basic salary. The basic salary of the Senate President is N2.48m while that of the Speaker of House is N2.47m. The Deputy Senate President has N2.30m as annual basic salary while the Deputy Speaker earns N2.28mn as basic salary annually.
In addition to the annual basic salary, each member of the National Assembly receives 200 per cent of the annual salary for accommodation, 75 per cent for vehicle maintenance, 25 per cent to engage Personal Assistants, 5 per cent for house maintenance, 75 per cent for domestic staff, 30 per cent for both entertainment and utilities.
Other entitlements include, 25 per cent of the basic salary as wardrobe allowance, 15 per cent for the purchase of newspapers and responsibility allowance of between 10, 7, and 5 per cents, depending on the position of the lawmaker.
While each of the 109 Senators receive a whopping 250 per cent for constituency allowance, 360 members of House get 100 per cent for the same each annually, which amounts to N1.85 billion and N4.93 billion for both chambers in the last one year, respectively.
On the average, each Senator earns N12,766,320.00 annually while a member of the House earns N9,529,020.00 for the same period save for little differences in the case of principal officers and committee chairmen and their deputes.
But the four presiding officers of both chambers earn less than other members of the Assembly due to the fact that they don’t get most allowances as certain service or the item needed by them are being provided.
Senate President earns a total of N8, 694,848.75 annually, while the Deputy Senate President earns N8, 082,083.63 for the same period.
In the case of the Speaker of the House, his annual take home pay is N4, 954,220.00 while the Deputy Speaker earns N4, 574,068.50 for the same period.
According to the breakdown of the report, there are also non-regular allowances federal lawmakers are entitled to. They include furniture allowance and severance gratuity, which are payable only once in four years. Other non-regular allowances include estacode allowances which is paid in US Dollars for foreign trips and Duty Tour Allowance (DTA) which is paid in local currency for local trips within the country.
A further analysis by the ‘Economic Confidential’ revealed that an average Nigerian worker with a monthly minimum wage of N18,000 will have to work for four years before he or she can earn the utility allowance for one lawmaker.
Recall that Nigerians have always complained of the financial implication of running the bicameral legislature and the extravagant lifestyles of the lawmakers.
Only recently, a member of the House of Representatives and erstwhile chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, made startling revelations on the controversial allowances of members of the National Assembly where he accused principal officers of the House of living large by appropriating illegal allowances to themselves at the expense of Nigerian tax payers.
According to Jibrin, principal officers of the House have allegedly shared more than N10bn amongst themselves as “office running cost,” a subhead lawmakers have used for years to corner illegal allowances to themselves.