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House of Reps Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu criticises low salary of lawmakers

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Deputy Speaker
House of Reps Deputy Speaker

The House of Representatives Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, has said lawmakers’ wages are far “from what it is supposed to be.” he added that their salaries do not reflect the country’s current economic situation.

 Kalu made this known yesterday during the ‘Politics Today’ programme on Channels Television. He said their actual salary is lower than people speculate it to be.

He emphasised that salaries differ from constitutional allowances and cannot be spent because they were allocated for projects in the constituency. 

“At the moment, talking about the salary of the National Assembly. I have said this repeatedly: it is not as much as people think. Salary differs 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 subheadings for which they are made. If you misuse it, you will be sanctioned when you retire.

“So talking about the salaries of the National Assembly is a far cry from what is supposed to be. And even if we reduce it by 50 or 80 per cent, it will not impact what the Nigerian lawmakers should be earning, which does not go in tandem with the country’s economic situation,” he said.

Though allowances are provided for constituency projects and their running costs, Kalu said lawmakers’ salaries are insufficient to cover transportation, aide maintenance and constitution office running costs. 

“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 take them home to do 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 facing.

“But I can assure you they will be willing to adjust. Why not if that will move Nigeria to the next level? After all, we did not send ourselves there. The constituents voted us in,” he stated.

The Deputy Speaker said the President is determined to reduce the cost of governance because he has good plans for Nigerians, particularly in the current economic hardship.  

“You mentioned cutting the cost of governance. 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 look for that document (the Oronsaye report).

“I want to thank him for (that) because we will use some of the issues mentioned in that report as source materials for our work on the 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 face many challenges. In reducing the cost of running government, the need for it cannot be overemphasised,” he added.

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