Contrary to the belief that Nigerian federal lawmakers are the highest paid in the world, a research has shown that Nigerian legislators are ninth in global pay ranking.
The research carried out by the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS) x-rayed comparative overview of salaries and allowances of legislators in nine countries across the world, analysed cost of running parliaments in some countries as well as breakdown of the monthly salaries of lawmakers in the selected countries.
The nine countries surveyed included the world’s largest democracy, India as well as the United States of America (USA), United Kingdom (UK), Tanzania, Singapore, Nigeria, Kenya, Philippines and Australia.
Data were obtained from the Congressional Research Service, which works exclusively for the US Congress; Library of Commons from UK; Salaries, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act from India; Legislative Council Secretariat, 2012, Remuneration of Members of Parliament in Singapore; Parliamentary Remunerations and Entitlements Research Paper from Australia; Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) in Nigeria among others.
There have been public outcries over the salaries of public officers in Nigeria, with analysts canvassing that they be paid minimum wage just like civil servants. This, they believe, would make public offices in the country less attractive, especially for those who see politics as a means of amassing wealth.
According to the documents obtained by BusinessDay, Philippines lawmakers emerge first in global pay ranks, with annual basic salary of $4,497,957; followed by their US counterparts where a senator takes home $3,409,422 and a member of the US House of Representatives receives $1,429,909 per annum. The list is followed by Kenyan federal legislators, who earn $968,013 per annum, followed by Australia, who takes home $646,230, while those in the UK go home with £494,285.43. This is closely followed by Indian lawmakers with $474,484 annually; Singapore and Tanzania with $253,469, and $230,961, respectively.
The research suggests that Nigeria comes ninth on the list with a Nigerian senator having a take home pay of $184,961, while his House of Representatives counterpart earns $166,739 per annum.
Breakdown of the salary of Nigerian legislators reveal that while a Nigerian senator earns an annual basic salary of N2,026,400, his counterpart in the House of Representatives receives N1,985,212 as annual basic salary.
Other annual allowances of each senator include: vehicle fuelling/maintenance N1,520,000; constituency N5,000,000; domestic staff N1,519,000; personal assistant N506,600; entertainment N607,920; recess N202,640; utilities N607,920; newspapers/periodicals N303,960; house maintenance N101,320; wardrobe N506,600, and tour duty N37,000.
Similarly, breakdown of each House of Representatives member’s allowances include: vehicle fuelling/maintenance N1,489,000; constituency N1,985,000; domestic staff N1,488,000; personal assistant N493,303; entertainment N595,563; recess N198,521; utilities N397,042; newspapers/periodicals N297,781; house maintenance N99,260 and wardrobe N496,303.
Another document prepared by NILS titled, “The National Assembly in Context,” also indicated that while the Nigerian parliament has a total staff strength of 3,373, US has 23,971, Ghana 422, Kenya 400 and Benin Republic 167.
However, it expressed concern over the dearth of aides with high-level technical capacity in many African parliaments.
“This implies that some legislators would not have the benefit of good briefs from their aides on issues to be debated in the legislatures,” says Ladi Hamalai, NILS’s director-general.