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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Senate Approves New Salaries for President, VP, Others

The Senate yesterday passed a bill approving new salaries for the President, Vice President, Chief Justice of Nigeria and certain other political, public and judicial office holders in the country.
The bill, passed by the Senate at the end of the clause-by-clause consideration in the Committee of the Whole, was for an Act to Amend the Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (salaries and Allowances, Etc.) Act 2002 and for other related Matters Therein.
When it becomes an Act of Parliament, it is will be cited as “Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (salaries and Allowances, Etc.) (Amendment) Act, 2008 and will be deemed to take effect from February 2007.
The Bill is awaiting the concurrence of the House of Representatives consequent upon which it would be sent to President Umar Yar’ Adua for his assent.
Those covered by the Bill as passed by the Senate, include the President, Vice President, Chief of Staff to the President, Minister, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Head of Civil Service of the Federation.It also cover Chairmen of Code of Conduct Bureau, Independent Electoral Commission, Federal Civil Service Commission, National Population Commission, Federal Judicial Service Commission, Nigeria Police Council, Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal commission, Federal Character Commission, National Judicial Council, Code of Conduct Tribunal, Independent Corrupt Practices and related Offences Commission, Police Service Commission, National Assembly Service Commission, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Public Complaints Commission, National Human Rights Commission and such other Commissions as may be established by an Act of the Assembly.
Also covered by the Bill are members of the commissions named in the paragraph preceding this, including members of the Judicial Service Commission of the Federal Capital Territory and such other Commissions as may be established by an Act of the Assembly.
Special Advisers to the President, Speech Writer to the President, Auditor-General, Permanent Secretaries, Directors-general, Executive Secretaries, Chief Executives of Parastatals, Agencies and Government Companies.
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners and such other Commissions as may be established by an Act of the National Assembly also fall under the purview of the Bill.Details of the salaries are as follows: President is to receive N3, 514, 705. 00 as against N1, 405, 882. 00 prescribed in the 2002 Act; Vice President is to receive N3, 031, 572. 50, as against N1, 212, 629. 00 provided for in the amended Act; while the Chief of Staff to the President, Ministers, Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) and Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HOSF) are to receive annual basic salary of N2, 026, 400. 00.In the amended 2002 Act, N794, 085.00 was provided for the SGF; N783, 032. 00 was provided for Minister of State while N777, 150. 00 was provided for Special Advisers to the President.Chairmen of the listed Commissions and the members received N777, 150 and N771, 752. 00 respectively under the Act of 2002, but they are now to receive N2, 026, 400. 00 and N1, 957, 580. 00 respectively in the 2008 Bill.Special Advisers to the President and Speech Writers to the President are to receive N1, 942, 875. 00 as annual basic salary under the Bill.In the 2002 Act, Auditor General of the Federation was paid N770, 346. 00 while in the new Bill, the occupant of the office is to receive N1, 925, 865. 00 along with Permanent Secretaries, Directors-General, Executive Secretaries, Chief executive of Parastatals, Agencies and Government Companies, and INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners, among others.The Bill retains allowances of 300 percent for severance gratuity, 10 percent for leave, 250 percent for constituency for the President and Vice President while other fringe benefits such as accommodation, utilities, domestic staff, entertainment, medical allowances, security, furniture, personal assistant, duty tour allowances, among others are to be provided by the State.Members of the Council of State are to be paid N500,000 per sitting (but not exceeding six sittings in a year) consistent with Section 153 (1) (b) paragraph 5 (c and d) of Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution.The Amendment Bill was processed by the Senate Committee on National Planning headed by Senator Zaynab Kure.Presenting the Committee report to the Senate yesterday, Senator Kure reminded the Senate: “Distinguished colleagues, you may respectfully recall that when the Leader of the senate led this distinguished Senate in a debate on the general principles of the Bill in question, he did say that ‘on 22nd May, 2007, the Senate approved vide resolution (S. Res. 01/21/07), remuneration package for political, public and judicial office holders in Nigeria.”However, this is enjoyed only by elected members of the National Assembly and State Assemblies. In a way, the Bill, which is now the subject matter seeks only to legalize that resolution, so that it can apply to all political office holders.”She said that Committee observed that salary matter was dynamic and must be reviewed from time to time, at least every five years, adding that legislators’ pay was at par with that of the Minister “which is in contrast with the Order of Precedence Act 2003, where a senator appears before a minister.”Kure continued: “Monitoring allowances recommended for Commissions should also be extended to Legislative houses to enable them perform their constitutional responsibilities of oversight function.”


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