Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, Mr. Elias Mbam, disclosed yesterday that the Commission had started the process of trimming down the pay packages of the President, Senators, members of the House of Representatives, governors and all the elected public officials to reflect current economic realities.
Speaking with journalists after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari, the RMAFC Chairman said that no federal lawmaker received N1 million monthly as salary, adding that their salaries would be pruned down to reflect the current economy status.
Asked whether the parliamentarians would give a nod to the idea, the Chairman said it was a constitutional mandate, which no one should argue about.
He said: “We are here to brief the President on the activities of the commission, the challenges and the way forward.
“The President advised us to ensure that we use all legitimate means to ensure all public office holders take home remuneration as determined by the commission and also block all leakages.
“We have done a lot in informing the public on the true position of the remuneration packages. It is on our website; it is clearly written there and we have published these remuneration packages in many national dailies several times.
“We have also had interactions with the press at different fora.
“What we read on the pages of newspapers is not known to the commission because there is no member of the National Assembly, based on what we determined, who earns up to N1 million per month.
“Presently, we are reviewing the subsisting remuneration packages and it is going to reflect the socio-economic realities of today. We expect that before the end of next month, it will be ready.
“When I talk of packages, the responsibility of the commission is to determine the remuneration for political office holders, both elected and appointed, from the national level to the local government level.
“Of course, National Assembly members are elected. It will include them, it will include the judiciary, it will include the state legislature, executive and of course, the local government will be included.
“Recently, the oil price dropped. Many government agencies, the states and local governments have not been able to pay their salaries. These are some of the issues that made it necessarily to review it. It did not start with this administration; we started the review as far back as last year. It is not because of the present administration that we commenced it.
“They do not have a choice. We are guided by the constitution and we are going to be guided by such laws that are provided for in the constitution and the oath they swore to obey the laws of the country.”
Mbam, who recounted the challenges of the Commission to include insufficient funding, urged the authorities to amend the Act setting it up to grant its financial independence.
Asked when the new revenue sharing formula would be ready, the chairman said it was beyond his power to comment on.
He said: “One of the challenges is that the commission is not properly funded and we are saying that we expect that the commission should be one of the agencies of government that should have financial autonomy.
“The best way to do that is to include it as one of the agencies that will benefit from first line charge.
“The second is to give the commission the power of enforcement. They should review the Act establishing the commission so that it can have power of enforcement and sanctions on any of the defaulting MDAs.”