Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

JUMBO SALARIES AND ALLOWANCES FOR POLITICAL OFFICE HOLDERS ARE UNJUSTIFIED AND PARASITIC


JUMBO SALARIES AND ALLOWANCES FOR POLITICAL OFFICE HOLDERS ARE UNJUSTIFIED AND PARASITIC

SPN DEMANDS LIVING WAGE FOR WORKERS

The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) condemns the unwarranted and parasitic jumbo allowance and salaries being collected by political office holders and appointees at all levels of government and tiers.

These salaries and allowances are scandalously too high. For instance, the basic salaries of the President, Vice President, Senators and House of Representatives are N3,514,705, N2,064,400, N2,026,400, N1,985,212 respectively. However, the yearly housing allowance for the legislators is 200% of their annual salaries; furniture allowance is 300% for four years while motor vehicle loan is 400%. Hence, each Senator, aside from the Senate President and Deputy Senate President, will be paid N4,052,800 as housing allowance while each member of the House of Representative aside the Speaker and Deputy Speaker collect N3,970,425 annually. Aside the 4 principal members of the National Assembly, housing allowance alone gulps a whopping sum of about N1.85 billion annually and N7.5 billion in 4 years. Buhari’s ministers will also collect a N3.9 million yearly housing allowance.

While the self-serving ruling class at the federal level is getting N15.6 million and more for their housing for 4 years, millions are living in overcrowded rooms and detestable environment while millions of homeless persons sleep on the streets! Aside from the fact that the Federal Government is to provide all President Buhari and Vice-President Osibajo’s need including vehicles, entertainment, security, utility, newspapers, medical, clothing, feeding etc., the president will be getting about N14 million annually in salary/allowances (comprising of basic salary, hardship allowance, constituency allowance and leave allowance) and N14 million as gratuity at the end of 4 years while the Vice-President will receive N12 million as salary and allowances. Punch Newspaper of June 23, 2015 revealed that each Senator will earn about N18 million annually in salary and allowances while the House of Representatives will earn N15 million annually in salary and allowances.

On top of housing allowances, the legislators and some other political office holders earn wardrobe allowance, sitting allowance, severance allowance etc. The wardrobe allowance for each senator is N506,000 and for 4 years is about N2 million; an amount that can pay 40 workers earning N50,000 for a month. This explains why the yearly budget for the National Assembly is about N120 billion.

In the same vein, governors and the retinue of government officials and state legislators as well as the local government chairpersons are earning similar outrageous salaries and allowances. Most governors currently earn jumbo pension while workers have been reduced to private contributory poverty pension with no guarantee that they will get these meager pension as at when due. Some of these political office holders may end up earning double jumbo allowance. For instances, the present Senate President who earns jumbo pension for himself and members of his families from Kwara State may end up earning another jumbo pension as a former Senate President!

All this explains the reason why political office holders in Nigeria numbering about 17,000 and cutting across all states, local governments, legislators at the state and federal level, executive at the state and national level, judiciary etc., earn jumbo salaries and allowances of about N1.5 trillion yearly.

These allowances and salaries are outrageously insane. In a country where workers across the federation are being owed between 7 to 9 months workers’ salaries by different state governments, some federal agencies, pensioners and with growing poverty, hopelessness in the land, gross inadequacy of basic infrastructure, political office holders across the federation and levels of government are living life of opulence and waste. In addition many workers are still not even formally receiving the N18,000 signed into law over four years ago. But even those workers lucky enough to be actually paid the minimum wage are not getting a living wage. However the unjust capitalist system is based upon rule by a small ruling class which systemically guarantees bourgeois politicians privileges and social status that makes them live far above the working masses they claim to represent. It is one of the reasons why the interest of the rich and big business are protected by bourgeois politicians at the expense of the vast majority of the working masses.

The SPN demands that political office holders earn the average wage of a skilled worker while the state takes care of reasonable working expenses so that the savings should be invested into basic infrastructure. Any SPN member elected to a position would be expected to carry out this policy and publically donate back to the workers’ movement pay and expenses above this level. We also demand that workers’ salaries must immediately be increased to a living wage as this is one of the means with which the growing inequality can be abridged.

In the current situation of growing crisis and demand for change some state leaders, like in Abia and Kaduna, have announced cuts in their wages and it has recently been reported that the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) is reviewing public sector salaries. Partly this may be cosmetic, because without open, public scrutiny of the federal and states’ accounts no-one can be certain of what is really going on. But there also is the danger that political leaders will use any trimming of their enormous salaries and allowances as a justification for cuts in the wages of ordinary workers. Labour must not tolerate any hint of this. The crisis facing the country has not been caused by workers, rather it is the result of the turmoil in capitalism and its inability to develop the country.

Its defence of capitalism means that, despite the change mantra of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Buhari government, nothing will fundamentally alter the growing inequality between political office holders and working masses, insensitivity, profligacy and corruption.

The hope that the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will address the present contradiction is mere fantasy. As long as the present administrations at all levels subscribe to the neo liberal capitalist postulation of free market which emphasize on the capitalists’ private interest over public/collective interest, the growing poverty and inequality will continue. On this basis all the political parties in power and the office holders are in a gang-up to continue to unjustifiably earn salaries and allowances aside looting, profligacy and corrupt practices.

We therefore state that genuine change can only be guaranteed to Nigerians by the demolition of capitalist wall through the struggle of the Nigerian people led by the working masses. We hereby call on the labour leaders to begin mass mobilization of the rank and file workers across the nation to oppose this daylight robbery and gang up by the ruling elites. Labour leaders must demand and struggle for a living wage for worker and fight for the payment of the backlog of salaries being owed to workers, with no retrenchment, across the federation. The struggle must also demand the reduction of salaries and allowances of political office holders to an average wage of skilled civil servant.

Segun Sango
National Chairperson
E-mail: socialistpartyofnigeria@yahoo.com