The Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Mohammed Shehu, has said the commission will do what is best for the country when reviewing the pay for politicians, judges, and public officers.
He spoke to The PUNCH through a telephone conversation.
Earlier, media reports disclosed that the commission approved the increment of salaries of political office-holders, judicial and public office holders by 114 per cent.
According to the commission’s report, a Federal Commissioner in the Commission, Rakiya Tanko-Ayuba, made the salary increment remark when she represented RMAFC Chairman, Mohammad Shehu, at the presentation of the reports of the reviewed remuneration package to Kebbi State Governor, Nasir Idris, in Birnin Kebbi.
Tanko-Ayuba reportedly said the implementation of the reviewed remuneration packages were effective from January 1, 2023, a claim that had been strongly denied by the RMAFC Public Relations Officer, Christian Nwachukwu.
The representative of the chairman noted that the move was in accordance with the provision of paragraph 32(d) of part 1 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 constitution of the federal government (as amended).
It was also reported that with respect to the judicial office holders, the commission considered the introduction of three new allowances.
The allowance included “Professional development assistant: This is to allow for the provision of two law clerks to all judicial officers in the country.
“Long service allowance: This is to guarantee seniority/hierarchy between officers who have been on the bench for a minimum of five years and those that are appointed newly.
“Restricted or forced lifestyle: This is to take care of the nature of the lifestyle of judicial officers while in active service.”
RMAFC is saddled with the responsibility of determining the remuneration appropriate for political officeholders, including the President, Vice President, governors, deputy governors, ministers, commissioners, special advisers, legislators and the holders of the offices as mentioned in Sections 84 and 124 of this Constitution.
Speaking with our correspondent, the RMAFC boss noted that the decision to increase or decrease pay would be based on certain economic indicators.
On the possibility of an eventual increase, he said, “We don’t know yet. When you review, you take cognisance of all the necessary factors – inflation, cost of living, the reality of the situation back then, and the reality of the situation now, the availability of funds, and the revenue situation of the country.
“You have to look at all those issues. Whatsoever it is, trust me, the commission will do something that is in the best interest of Nigeria.”
He noted that RMAFC could not decide to increase salaries on its own, as there was a process to follow.
According to him, “It has to be presented, the government has to study it, they have to agree or disagree, and then it is transmitted to the National Assembly. That is what the law says.”