The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) on Wednesday said only the National Assembly Service Commission management can explain the N13.5 million monthly ‘running cost’ senators were recently said to be earning by one of their colleagues, Shehu Sani.
The agency said the law on salaries and allowances of public office holders, namely “Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances, etc.) (Amendments) Act, 2008” was very clear on the pay of a senator.
Mr Sani, triggered the controversy on March 7 when he confirmed he and his colleagues collect N13.5 million monthly as “running cost” in addition to their N750, 000 monthly consolidated salary and allowances.
The confirmation stirred huge controversy among lawyers and civil society groups who described the money as illegal, as it was not approved by RMAFC.
But, the RMAFC said in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday that in view of Mr Sani’s revelation, some clarification from the commission was imperative.
The commission’s spokesperson, Ibrahim Mohammed, said the total monthly entitlement of each Senator as salary and allowances is about N1 million (N1,063,860).
Mr Mohammed said this consisted the basic salary of N168,866:70; motor vehicle fueling and maintenance allowance, N126,650:00; personal assistant pay N42,216:66; domestic staff 126,650:00 and entertainment, N50,660:00.
Other benefits include: utilities, N50,660:00; newspapers/periodicals N25,330:00; wardrobe allowance, N42,216,66:00; house maintenance, N8,443.33:00 and constituency allowance, N422,166:66.
“The Law on Salaries and Allowances of Public Office Holders is very clear. As such, only the management of the National Assembly Service Commission can explain the N13.5 million running cost allegedly being enjoyed by each Senator. The Act only covers salary and allowances, not running cost,” Mr Mohammed said.
He explained that “some allowances are regular, while others are non-regular.”
Regular allowances, he added, were those paid regularly along with the basic salary, while ”non-regular allowances were those paid as at when due”.
He cited the example of furniture allowance (N6,079,200:00) and severance gratuity allowance (N6,079,200:00) paid once in every tenure, while motor vehicle Loan (N8,105,600:00) is optional, since the beneficiary has to offset before leaving office.
The payment of ”running cost”, Mr Mohammed explained, was not part of the commission’s mandate.
On auditing of the money allocated to the National Assembly Commission, he said this did not also fall within the purview of the Commission’s responsibilities.
“Any other payments enjoyed by any political, or public office holders outside those provided in the Remuneration Act of 2008 is not known to the Commission. The chief accounting officers of the agencies concerned should explain it,” he said.