In a country where public servants die while waiting to be paid their pensions, Nigerian politicians who get paid the highest salaries and allowances in the world are about to walk out of office with the fattest severance pay packages. If the law allows it, perhaps the incoming administration come May 29 would make a fine sacrificial example of CHANGE by downsizing the cost of governance as it currently stands.
Below is THE PUNCH report by Everest Amaefule, Friday Olokor and Ade Adesomoju…
President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice-president Namadi Sambo, non-returning federal lawmakers, ministers and presidential aides will collect N3.24bn as severance allowances, investigation by The PUNCH has shown.
The severance allowances are contained in the Remuneration Package put together by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission. According to the package, Jonathan, who will hand over to the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, on May 29, is entitled to 300 per cent of his annual basic salary. The President’s annual basic salary is put at N3, 514,705 and therefore his severance allowance will be N10, 544,115 after May 29.
The severance allowance is without prejudice to his other constitutional entitlements as a former head of government. Similarly, Vice-President Sambo, who leaves office the same day as Jonathan, is also entitled to 300 per cent of his annual basic salary put at N3, 031,572.50. This means that his severance allowance after May 29 is N9, 094,717.50. For having held the office of vice- president, Sambo also has some constitutional entitlements and perks.
About 76 senators are not returning to the National Assembly either because they did not stand for election or because they lost their bids to return. They are however entitled to N462,019,200 at the expiration of their tenure on June 5. Like Jonathan and Sambo, they are entitled to 300 per cent of their annual basic salaries as severance allowances. This amounts to N6, 079,200 per senator.
In the House of Representatives, about 290 members are not returning to the 8th National Assembly to be proclaimed into existence by Buhari on June 5. Each of the members is entitled to N5, 955,637.50 as severance allowance. This means that the 290 members will be paid N1, 727,134,875.
The ministers, on the other hand, will be collecting a total of N253, 967,212.5. There are 42 ministers in Jonathan’s cabinet. Thirty one of them are senior ministers and 11 are ministers of state. Each of the senior ministers is entitled to N6, 079,200 severance allowance while each of the ministers of state will receive N5, 872,740. This means that collectively, the senior ministers will get N188, 455,200 at the expiration of their tenure on May 29 while collectively, the ministers of state will be collecting N65, 512,012.5 .
The aides to the President comprising special advisers, senior special assistants and special assistants will get N775, 207,125. There are 23 of them who work with the president as special advisers. Apart from this number, however, there are several others estimated at 110 who work with the vice-president, the First Lady(Patience Jonathan) and special advisers that are designated either as senior special assistants or special assistants to the President.
This means that there are about 133 aides to the president and each of them is entitled to 300 per cent of their annual basic salary which amounts to N5, 828,625.
The Nigerian democracy has been identified as one of the costliest in the world as a result of a large number of political office holders. Some experts, for instance, think that a cabinet made up of 42 ministers is too large. However, constitutionally, each of the 36 states is expected to be represented in the Federal Executive Council.
Bicameralism is another source of worry for many observers who believe that Nigeria can do with one chamber of the National Assembly. Some Nigerians have called for part-time legislature as a means of saving cost.