Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) wednesday stated that it cannot explain how and why senators elected to serve in the National Assembly earn up to N13.5 million as recently disclosed by Senator Shehu Sani.
RMAFC explained in a statement from its Head of Public Affairs, Mr. Ibrahim Mohammed, in Abuja that it wass only able to clarify the monthly entitlements of senators which it said was N1, 063,860, and included salaries and allowances as specified in the existing law on salaries and allowances of public office holders in Nigeria, but not the N13.5 million running cost.
It stated that following the N13.5 million disclosure by Sani, the issue had occupied the front burner of national discourse, hence its decision to clarify the position of the countryâ€™s remuneration law on it.
According to it, â€œThe clarification has become imperative in view of the recent revelation by Mr. Shehu Sani, a Senator of the federal republic who was reported to have disclosed to the public that each senator collects monthly running cost of N13.5 million in addition to the monthly salary of N750, 000.00 prescribed by the â€˜Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances, etc.) (Amendments) Act, 2008â€™
â€œThe law on salaries and allowances of public office holders is very clear and as such it is only the management of the National Assembly Service Commission that can explain the N13.5 million running cost allegedly being enjoyed by each senator as the Act only covers salary and allowances but not running cost,â€ RMAFC explained.
If further noted that: â€œA closer look at the monthly entitlement of senators reveals that each senator collects salary and allowances of the sum of N1,063,860:00 consisting of the following: basic -N168,866:70; motor vehicle fuelling and maintenance allowance N126,650:00; personal assistant – N42,216:66; domestic staff -126,650:00; entertainment – N50,660:00; utilities -N50,660:00; newspapers/periodicals -N25,330:00; wardrobe – N42,216,66:00; house maintenance – N8,443.33:00 and constituency – N422,166:66 respectively.
â€œIt is instructive to note that some allowances are regular while others are non-regular. Regular allowances are paid regularly with basic salaries while non-regular allowances are paid as at when due. For instance, furniture allowance (N6,079,200:00); and severance gratuity (N6,079,200:00) are paid once in every tenure while motor vehicle loan -(N8,105,600:00) is optional which the beneficiary has to offset before leaving office.â€
RMAFC stated that the payment of running cost was not part of its mandate, and as such only the National Assembly can explain it.
The statement also added that auditing this running cost payment does not fall within the purview of the RMAFC, thus, its decision to clarify that any other payments enjoyed by any political, or public office holders outside those provided in the remuneration Act of 2008 is not known to it.