We’ve suspended action on salary raise for political office holders – RMAFC

The reviewed salary/emoluments of political office holders have been jettisoned by the  Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).

The RMAFC, a  Federal Government agency with the responsibility to determine the salaries of members of the  Executive, Legislature and judicial officers, says it will only do so when the nation’s financial challenges improve.

It dispelled the widely held belief by the public that political officeholders earn jumbo salaries/emoluments by citing the cases of the President and ministers.

The   President said the RMAFC earns a  monthly pay’ is below N1.5 million while that of a   minister is not up to   N1 million. 

The RMAFC  recalled that the last time the salaries/emoluments of public office holders were reviewed was in  2007. 

Chairman of the commission  Mohammed Shehu, said these during an interview with the New Agency of Nigeria in Abuja yesterday.

Shehu also revealed that the RMAFC has developed software to enhance transparency in revenue generation and sharing amongst the three tiers of government.

The commission had last June, announced that it had raised the salaries of politicians, judicial and other public office holders by 114 per cent.

Following condemnation by the public, the  Presidency said it had yet to approve the review as announced by the RMAFC.

The commission is also a Federal Government agency responsible for mobilising and allocating revenue to the three tiers of government in Nigeria. Besides, it monitors the financial activities of the three tiers of government to ensure that they are in compliance with the law.

During the interview in Abuja,  Shehu said:    “From 2008 till date there had not been any single review,” he said. “We are Nigerians, we are not going to start talking about reviewing salaries of political office holders now because of the challenges that the government is facing.

“As a commission, we are going to do our work but we are not going to say we will do it now.

“We will do it when the climate is right and then we will take it forward to the stakeholders for them to decide on what to do.

“I need to disabuse the minds of Nigerians. It is not true that people are getting jumbo salaries.

“The monthly salary of Mr. President is less than N1.5 million; that of a minister is not even up to one million naira.

“I know of an average CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) worker who is not even a director, who earns more than a minister.

“People in NNPCL (Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited), NCC (Nigerian Communications Commission), and ports authority earn huge salaries. What is the salary of a governor? What is the salary of a legislator?

“I know some people will say members of the National Assembly get up to N10 million or N11 million monthly.

“Those are not salaries, they are like operating costs of running their offices which in other societies the legislator does not have to see because there is a structure.

“Once you get elected, you make that structure from your constituency office to computers to logistics to the size of your constituency.” 

“The  Nigerian system allows the legislator to be given a certain amount and then he deals with that and retires the receipts.”

The  RMAFC boss urged Nigerians to pay their taxes to boost government revenue and improve service delivery.

 Shehu said that less than 40 million Nigerians captured in the tax net, currently pay taxes.

“That is too low for a country that has more than 200 million people,” he said.

He welcomed  the  Tax Reform Committee recently set up by President Bola Tinubu, saying

it would capture more economic players from the informal sector into the tax net.

Shehu added: “There is all this debate about the informal economy. What this tax reform committee that we have set up will do is bring a lot of agencies together, including RMAFC. We are a member of that committee.

“We have articulated our position and we will communicate what we believe can add value to the discussion.

“At the end of it all, we will have a better society where more people are paying taxes and the money will be utilised for better services and infrastructure so that every Nigerian can benefit, ‘“ 

 “There are some taxes that the government is not getting from Nigerians.”

The chairmait revealed that RMAFC has developed software to enhance transparency in revenue generation and sharing amongst the three tiers of government.

According to him, the software will help the commission perform one of its major functions of reviewing the revenue allocation formula for the entire federation from time to time.

“There is something called the vertical revenue allocation formula; who gets what percentage – Federal, State or Local Government (LG).

“There is also the horizontal formula; how do you share that percentage among states and LGs?

“That means you have to consider factors like population, school enrollment, land mass, hospital beds; these are some of the indices.

“Previously what we did was to request for the required information manually, and then the commission will go and do the inspection manually,”  Shehu added.

(Nation)