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Lawmakers’ salaries too small for job responsibilities -Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, on Monday said the current salaries of federal lawmakers cannot take them home to do the jobs they were elected to do.

While stressing that the take home pay of the average lawmaker is a ‘far cry’ from what people insinuate, Kalu called for understanding, saying the call for the slashing of their salary by 50 per cent is not the solution to the current problem.

The deputy speaker spoke when he featured on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ on Monday.

Kalu said, “At the moment, talking about the salary of the National Assembly. I have said this over and again, it is not as much as people think. Salary is different from allowance, which is meant to do the jobs our constituents have sent us to do.

“Nobody is allowed to touch allowances. It is the salary that belongs to you. Allowances have no subheadings for which they are made for. If you use it wrongly, when you are retiring it, you will be sanctioned for that.

“So talking about the salaries of the National Assembly, it is a far cry from what is supposed to be. And I can assure you that even if we reduce it by 50 per cent or 80 per cent, it will not really impact what the Nigerian lawmakers should be earning, which does not go in tandem with the economic situation of the country.

“I can assure you that based on economic indices at the moment, inflation rate and the rest of them, the amount members of the National Assembly receive cannot actually take them home to do their their jobs in their various constituencies.

“Considering the cost of transport, running constituency offices and the number of maintaining aides who are supposed to have you achieve what the mandate of that office demands, it is not a discussion that will add value to the crisis we are faced with.

“But I can assure you they will be willing to adjust. If that is what will move Nigeria to the next level, why not? After all, we did not send ourselves there. We were voted in by the constituents.”

The Abia politician also praised President Bola Tinubu for having the courage to order the full implementation of the 2012 recommendations of the Steve Oronsaye panel.

Tinubu had directed that a committee be constituted to implement the mergers, scrapping and relocations of the 541 parastatals, commissions, and agencies owned by the Federal Government within 12 weeks.

“Like you rightly pointed out, you mentioned cutting cost of governance. This shows that when you look at the President’s body language and determination, he is intentional about reducing the cost of running the government. If he’s not, he will not be looking for that document.

“I want to thank him for (that) because some of the issues mentioned in that report, we are going to use them as source materials for the work we are doing on Constitution review. And we’re happy that Mr President is forward thinking for him to embrace that report. He means well for Nigeria, especially during this period when we are facing a lot of challenges. In reducing the cost of running government, the need for it cannot be overemphasised,” he stated.


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