By Fred Itua, Abuja


•Lawmakers divided

Protagonists and antagonists of pay cut for senators and members of the House of Representatives are yet to echo ‘uhuru’ even as the chairman of ‎Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC)‎, Mr. Elias Mbam‎ gave an indication recently that no Nigerian lawmaker should earn more than N1 million. Nerves might have been calmed by the pronouncement, but the bone of contention surrounding other allowances of federal lawmakers are yet to be resolved.lawan-n-saraki

‎The fireworks surrounding the alleged jumbo pay for federal lawmakers did not start today. Many key observers and interest groups echoed it ‎in the past, but the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and current Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi gave an impetus to the national outcry in 2010 when he told Nigerians that the cost of running the National Assembly constituted 25 per cent of the overhead of the Federal Government budget‎.

Former minister of Education, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili added salt to injury when she alleged in 2013 that the federal legislature was a drain on the country’s national purse. She had stated that the National Assembly had between 2005 and 2013 received over N1 trillion.‎ Ezekwesili had further revealed that in 2005 and 2006, the National Assembly was allocated N54.79 billion respectively, but the amount rose to N158 billion in 2010 and that the allocation had been steady at N150 billion since 2011.‎ Read More →

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Talatu Usman

Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s order directing the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to address public outcry over huge salaries and allowances of members of the National Assembly, the chairman of the commission, Elias Mbam, said on Tuesday that Senators and members of the House of Representatives will earn less than N1 million by the end of next month.Buhari-Talking

Speaking at the State House after Mr. Mbam made presentation on the activities and challenges of the commission, President Buhari chided the RMAFC for approving excessive remunerations for some political office holders, and urged the commission to seek a proper interpretation of its powers and address the public outcry against the unreasonably high payments.senators-hor

President Buhari also warned that severe sanctions will be visited on any individual or organisation that violates the directive on the payment of all national revenue into the Federation Account.President Buhari spoke a week after PREMIUM TIMES published details of the federal lawmakers’ salaries and allowances, a publication that sparked widespread public anger against the lawmakers, with many calling a drastic cut.What-Lawmakers-will-Earn

But in his response to reporters’ questions after meeting the president, the RMAFC boss said the commission had been working on the review of the salaries and allowances of the political office holders at National Assembly, the State Assemblies and Local Governments, adding that the review also covers the Judiciary.

Mr. Mbam said the review, which according to him is still going through a process and expected to be ready by next month, is expected to reflect the economic realities of the day occasioned by the drop in oil prices.

“We are currently 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. But it will go through a process, it is not something that you will just say yes or no,” he said.

According to Mr. Mbam, “no member of the National Assembly should earn up to N1million per month” and that the Senators and Members of the House of Representatives have no option but to abide by the commission’s new wage formula.What-Lawmakers-will-Earn-2

“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,” he said.

According to him, President Buhari advised that they use all legitimate means to ensure that all public office holders’ emoluments comply with those approved by the commission and “ensure that leakages are blocked.”

As part of the challenges faced by the commission, Mr. Mbam said the commission was not properly funded as it 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,” he said.What-Lawmakers-will-Earn-3

The second challenge, he said is lack of power of enforcement. He therefore demanded a review of the Act establishing the commission so that it can have power of enforcement and sanctions on any of the defaulting MDAs.

Mr. Mbam said the review of of salaries and allowances had been on since last year, noting that it had become imperative to conclude it following the drop in oil prices and the financial constraint which had degenerated to states been unable to pay salaries of staff.

“These are some of the issues that made the review necessary. 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,” he said. Read More →

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ABUJA – The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) says it does not determine how much political office holders take home as pension at the end of their service.
This is contained in a statement by the commission’s Head, Public Relations, Mr. Ibrahim Mohammed, in Abuja.RMAFC
It said RMAFC was forced to make the clarification based on misleading reports concerning pension benefits for political and other public office holders in Nigeria.
“To start with, the issue of pension for the President, Vice President, Governors and their Deputies is strictly a constitutional matter. Read More →

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By Our Reporter


As part of its plans to review the controversial revenue allocation formula, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission may adopt five factors, it was learnt yesterday.


Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola

But the commission may stay action on the review of the 13 per cent derivation because it is not constitutionally empowered to tamper with the principle. Only the National Assembly can review the derivation principle.

RMAFC has tentatively fixed April 29 for the verification of the five factors, which it will use in determining revenue allocation to each of the 36 states, the FCT and the 774 local government areas.

The commission has raised committees for a month-long exercise to verify the five factors.

A document obtained by our correspondent revealed the factors, which may be adopted.

Excerpts from the document reads: “It will be recalled that Section 32(b) Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Commission had set the stage for the review of revenue sharing formulae and principles so as to conform to changing realities.

“This, at all times considers such determining factors as diverse geographical or physical configurations, demographic spread and concentration, social development factors, regional revenue drives and efforts among others.

“In specific terms, the purpose is to cause improvement in the economic conditions of the people in the face of changing trends and dynamics of those variable factors. Such changes include, inter alia, the responsiveness to both natural and man-made environmental configurations which clearly here represent changes in Landmass and Terrain.

“It should be noted that the Horizontal Revenue Allocation Formula translates into indices for the sharing of revenue among the states and among the Local Government Councils (including the FCT Area Councils) from the Federation Account.

A source in the commission said: “Barring last-minute change of mind, RMAFC commissioners and staff have been directed to begin the verification of the factors from April 29.

“We are still trying to sort out issue of funds but we are hopeful that the exercise will start as proposed. We are going to the field to correct raw data.

“These data will eventually assist RMAFC to determine the overall revenue allocation percentage to be allocated to states and local governments in the vertical arrangement.”

At present, the revenue allocation formula is as follows: Federal Government (52%); States (26.72%); and 770 Local Government Areas (20.60%).

But a committee raised by the Nigerian Governors Forum, headed by the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, has recommended a drastic reduction in the Federal Government’s allocation.

The governors want this new formula: Federal Government (35%); States (42%); and Local governments (23%).

The RMAFC source added: “The field work we are embarking on will assist us to ascertain if the demand of the states and the LGAs is justifiable. It will enable us to know the revenue allocation percentage to recommend for these two tiers of government.

“The five factors will also assist us to determine how revenue should be shared to states, LGAs.”

A highly-placed source in the commission said: “What RMAFC can only do is to advise the President on derivation principle – in the light of the outcome of our field work. It is only the National Assembly that can review the derivation principle.

“We are aware that there are divergent proposals on the review of the derivation principle. Some geopolitical zones have been demanding the review from 13 per cent to 25, 35 and 50 per cent.”


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