– N6m Furniture Allowance stirs controversy
MINISTERS of the Federal Republic of Nigeria would be earning over N16 million per annum, according to figures released by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Engr. Babachir David Lawal.
The SGF has also unveiled the conditions of service for the Ministers sworn into office by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 11, 2015.
In a letter reportedly sent to the Ministers, Lawal formally informed them of their appointment.
“I am pleased to inform you that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has appointed you as a Minister in the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The appointment takes effect from 11th November, 2015 under the following Terms and Conditions of Service as contained in “Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances, etc) (Amendment) Act 2008.
“I am to add that your tenure terminates at the end of this Administration unless otherwise decided by Mr. President. Please accept my heartiest congratulations and best wishes on your appointment,” the appointment letter read.
The SGF also revealed the details of the perks which the ministers will enjoy in office as members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
While the substantive Minister will earn N2, 026, 400 Annual Basic Salary ($8,514.285), Minister of State is to get N1.8million ($7,563.025) per annum.
Other perks of their office include: Estacode Allowance($900 per diem); Utilities Allowance (Telephone/ Electricity/ Water)30% of Annual Basic Salary (N607,920); Domestic Staff Allowance75% -(N1,519,800) of Annual Basic Salary; Medical Facilities (in accordance with NHIS Policy); Special Assistant (To be provided in kind); Security (To be provided in kind); Air Travel (By Business Class); Newspaper Allowance (15% of Annual Basic Salary-N303,960).
The SGF further stated that Ministers are entitled to a Duty Tour Allowance of N35,000 per diem, if the trip is official. However, all private journeys will attract no Allowance.
Another juicy pay approved for Buhari’s ministers include Severance Allowance of 300% of Annual Basic Salary payable after full tenure of office with government. Interestingly they are entitled to start receiving the allowance after a minimum of two years tenure.
The Federal Government will also pay the ministers a whooping N4,052,800 (200% of Annual Basic Salary) for accommodation in line with monetisation policy.
Furniture Allowance of N6,079,200 (300% of Annual Basic Salary) would also be paid Ministers once in every four years. The allowance would be paid annually at the rate of 75% of Annual Basic salary. That amounts to N1,519,800.
Other tempting perks of the members of FEC include N1,519,800 for Motor Vehicle Fuelling Maintenance Allowance, which is 75% of Annual Basic Salary (N1,519,800). This is for the maintenance of their vehicle(s) as Government no longer provides chauffeur- driven vehicles to Political Office Holders/Public Officers for house to office running.
Provision was also made for “Annual Leave (30 calendar days for each leave year or calculated on pro-rata basis, with 10% of Annual Basic Salary (N202,640) as leave grant).”
Ministers are also entitled to Personal Assistant Allowance to enable them employ a Personal Assistant of their choice.” They would be paid 25% of their basic salary in respect of this entitlement.
Tagged an austere package by Buhari’s associates, they claim it’s a reflection of the nation’s prevailing economic woes. According to them, Nigeria Ministers Basic Salary of $8,514.28 Per Annum (N2,026,400) is not as juicy as what their counterparts in Ghana and South Africa earn. Whereas the former reportedly pay Ministers $50,000 (N11,900,000), Ministers in South Africa (the highest paying country in the continent) were said to be taking home about $302,521 (N66.5 Million) per annum.
Meanwhile, criticism has been trailing the N6m furniture allowance approved for ministers. President Buhari’s critics are miffed by the fact that he would have jettisoned that since the nation is experiencing hard times.
Tongues are also wagging in respect of the N6,079,200 furniture President Buhari approved for the ministers. Their grouse is that the Federal Government can afford to pay billions to Ministers, while neglecting the ruling party’s campaign promises to unemployed youths.
“This is not the change we voted for. The Ministers are already rich but Buhari is more interested in making them happy than the less privileged youths who were made several unfulfilled campaign promises. With ministers smiling home with over N15 million per annum aside other perks of office, what would Buhari do for us?” an unemployed graduate, Mr. Felix Odogwu queried.
Also bashing President Buhari, constitutional lawyer, Mr. Okezie Agbara asked the Ministers to “serve their country with minimum comfort.”
APC Chieftain and former Abia guber candidate in the 2015 election, Chief Nyerere Anyim, however, dismissed those criticising Buhari as “enemies of progress.”
According to him, the President is prudent and means well for the country.
“Where were they when Jonathan and previous administration ran a bogus government that drained our commonwealth? Did anybody know how much Jonathan’s aides and ministers earned? Let’s appreciate the simple fact that APC is sincere with Nigerians.”
Presidential Spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina Adesina didn’t respond to ENCOMIUM Weekly’s inquiries on the issue when we called him on Monday, November 30, 2015.
WHAT BUHARI’S MINISTERS WILL EARN
Basic salary – N2,026,400
Allowance – N4,052,800
Utilities Allowance – N607,920
Domestic Staff Allowance – N1,519,800
Newspaper allowance – N303,960
Severance allowance – N4,052,800
Furniture allowance – N1,519,800
Motor Vehicle Fuelling
Maintenance Allowance – N1,519,800
Annual Leave Grant – N202,640
Personal Asst Allowance – N810,000
Total – N16.5m
- UCHE OLEHI