Lawmakers’ Salaries Not Enough for Job Responsibilities; We Need More – Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, said on Monday that the present salaries of federal lawmakers are insufficient to support them in carrying out their elected duties effectively.

Emphasizing that the actual take-home pay of an average lawmaker is significantly lower than what is commonly assumed, Kalu appealed for comprehension.

He stated that reducing their salaries by 50 percent, as suggested by some, is not the remedy to the existing issue.

Kalu made these remarks during his appearance on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ program 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.

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“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 commended President Bola Tinubu for his bold decision to mandate the complete enforcement of the 2012 recommendations outlined by the Steve Oronsaye panel. Tinubu’s directive involved the establishment of a committee tasked with executing mergers, abolitions, and relocations of the 541 parastatals, commissions, and agencies under the ownership of the Federal Government within a 12-week timeframe.

“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.