In a bid to reduce Nigeria’s recurrent expenditure, the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) is planning to scrap hazard allowances for state governors and review allowances earned by all political office holders in the country.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, reportedly disclosed this when members of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) paid him a courtesy visit on Tuesday in Abuja.
The details: According to the minister, it has become important to scrap the so-called hazard allowances and embark on a downward review of the wages and allowances that political office holders earn, alongside the high wages paid to workers in some government organisations.
According to Chris Ngige, the hazard allowances being paid to state governors are grossly unnecessary as the Federal Government cannot be paying hazard allowances while also feeding the governors and their families. He (Ngige) also stated that some political offices earn more than they deserve.
The statement by the Minister reads,
“Revenue Mobilisation will look at what is given to political officeholders. What is a governor doing with hazard allowance? What hazard when the state is feeding him and his family? What is a governor doing with constituency allowance? The whole state is his constituency. These are what will be holistically reviewed.
”There are people who earn 300% of what others earn and they have the same degree. We may have people in NNPC, FIRS, Customs and others with third-class (degrees) earning 300% more than the man with first-class in the ministry,”
Speaking further, Ngige disclosed that a committee had been set up to review salaries, with the task to look at the wage structure of the public service after the ‘consequential adjustment’ being done presently.
“The last holistic wage review took place in 2011 and a new one is being planned. Government has put up the Presidential Committee on Salaries headed by the Minister of Finance and co-chaired by me. We have 12 wage structures in Nigeria. We will beam our searchlight on them,” Ngige stated.
While raising more concerns, the minister stated that the proposed 2020 budget has N3.8 trillion as personnel cost and this will make it difficult for necessary infrastructure to be put in place.
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Mr Ngige said, “The 2020 budget of N10.3 trillion has N3.8 trillion as personnel cost, without overhead. If you add running cost and other incidental costs, the total recurrent budget as presented to the National Assembly has taken 76%. Where do we get the money to build roads, airports, rails, health centres, schools?
”It is a matter of balancing a budget that is 76% recurrent and 24% capital. For me, it is nothing to cheer about. In the 76%, the government has captured N200 billion for consequential adjustment for the minimum wage and so on,” he said.
He said these are all part of personnel expenses. ”N160 billion is for consequential adjustment of the minimum wage and not total package of workers’ salaries. Everyone has to make sacrifice.”