THE presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, has faulted the proposed remuneration increase for the President, Vice President and other political office holders in the country.
Obi, in a series of tweets on Thursday, June 22, described the timing of the proposed increment as “a deed in bad taste” considering the current economic hardships Nigerians are experiencing.
On Tuesday, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) disclosed that it had approved a 114 per cent increase in the remunerations of President Bola Tinubu, Vice President Kashim Shettima, and other political and judicial office holders.
The RMAFC chairman, Mohammad Shehu, said the Commission took the decision after considering the impact of the review on the economy.
But Obi, pointing out that the Tinubu administration’s economic reforms had increased the cost of living and worsened the suffering of citizens, asked the country’s leaders to focus more on reducing the cost of governance.
“I learnt, with great reservation, the approval of a 114% increase in the salaries of elected politicians, including the President, vice president, governors, lawmakers, and judicial and public office holders by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).
“This is not the appropriate time for such a salary increment, if it is at all necessary. We are living in a time when an average Nigerian is struggling with many harsh economic realities, and with over 130 million Nigerians now living in poverty. This is a moment when recent reform measures by the government have increased living costs astronomically.
I learnt with great reservation, the approval of a 114% increase in the salaries of elected politicians, including the President, vice president, governors, lawmakers as well as judicial and public office holders by the Revenue Mobilisation,
— Peter Obi (@PeterObi) June 22, 2023
“One would expect the leaders and public office holders to focus on cutting the cost of governance, alleviating the sufferings of Nigerians. This moment calls for creative ways of pulling the majority out of poverty,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Commission’s spokesperson, Christian Nwachukwu, has denied the review, saying the president was yet to approve the salary increase.
“My chairman has never made any statement on it. And I have not made any statement about it — no statement from the chairman, no statement from me. So, I don’t know. I heard one of the commissioners say it,” he said.
But a federal commissioner, Hassan Usman, while featuring on ARISE News TV on Wednesday, June 21, confirmed the proposed increase and defended the move.
Usman, saying both the leaders and followers were confronted with the same economic situation, argued that the increment was long overdue, as salaries in those categories were last increased 16 years ago.
The Commissioner, however, clarified that the increment would affect only the basic salaries of the public officials.
“We didn’t increase the allowances. All we did was increase the basic salary. And then, of course, the allowances are there the way they are; they are only commensurate percentages of the basic salary,” he said.