Varsity Don Advocates Slash In Salaries Of National Assembly Members

A professor of Economics at the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, Agharese Osifo, has advocated cuts in the allowances and financial privileges of elected and appointed political office holders at the three levels of government in the country in order to reduce the cost of governance.

The lecturer spoke against the background of falling international price of crude oil and the declaration by the Minister for Finance, Okonjo Iweala, some days ago that the Nigerian government planned to take austerity measures to put under check wastages in government officials’ spending.

Osifo, who made the call in an interview with newsmen in Benin, the Edo State capital, said that entitlements of lawmakers at the two chambers of the National Assembly should be drastically reviewed as statistics show that they are the highest paid parliamentarians  in the world.

The assistant professor of Economics and lecturer at the department of Agro-economics and Extension also called for the reduction in the number of political appointees at all levels of governments.‎

“Actually what the austerity measures means is cutting-down of the budgets. The presidential system of government we copied from United States of America (USA) is very expensive. As you are probably aware the Nigerian lawmakers particularly at the federal level are the most highly paid parliamentarians in the world,” he said.

“We have bicameral legislatures with the upper house (Senate) and the lower chamber or (House of Representatives). We have 360 in the lower chamber and 109 in the upper chamber respectively. The issues of their remuneration are still speculative but thanks to the Nigeria media who in their investigations were able to bring to the fore what they earned. With that we now know how much they earned. The Nigeria legislators earned more than even the president of USA if you denominate it in dollar to naira,” Osifo added.

He further said that if the salaries and allowances of political office holders could be reduced, then the multiplier effects of the austerity measures proposed by the federal government would have more impact on the entire citizenry.

The lecturer, who expressed reservation about government’s sincerity to execute the austerity measures, said  that the right  measures have to be put in place to track all the illegal funds embezzled by the politicians and other Nigerians.






     

     

    He noted that many public and private office holders had been accused of financial corruption amounting to several billions of naira and added that if those monies were retrieved from the accused and prudently put into sensitive sectors of the economic such as agriculture, it would in no small way add meaning to the life of the citizens.

    He also urged the government to cut down on foreign trips and flamboyant expenditures such as chartering of jets, adding that they do not add any value to the lives of the citizens.

    He further urged the federal government to explore other natural resources apart from oil and harness vast arable land for agricultural development, as he noted that Nigeria as the biggest producer of cassava in the world is yet to export any to boost the economy.

    “If government will focus on agriculture it will not only provide employment it will also produce surplus food which can be processed. Nigeria is the biggest producer of cassava in the whole world but we don’t export one grain of cassava. We consumed everything and a lot of it is also wasted,” he said.

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