REDUCING THE COST OF GOVERNANCE IS AS EASY AS ABC.alt

Even I can reduce the cost of federal governance in no time at all without going through much grief. I took a look at the emoluments of senior government officials and what came out of my mouth was WHOA! As loud as I could yell.

Here is what I saw:alt

Legislature:

  • Annual Basic Salary = X
  • Vehicle Maintenance & Fueling = 75% of X
  • Personal Assistant = 25% of X
  • Hardship = 5% of X
  • Domestic Staff = 75% of X
  • Entertainment = 30% of X
  • Utilities = 30% of X
  • Outfit = 25% of X
  • Newspaper and Periodicals = 25% of X

Let us make up some numbers. Assume X = N18,000 (minimum wage). We would have these numbers:

  • ABS = 18,000
  • VM&F = 13,500
  • PA = 4,500
  • Hardship = 900
  • DS = 13,500
  • Entertainment = 5,400
  • Utilities = 5,400
  • Outfit = 4,500
  • Newspapers = 4,500

For a total of = 70,200 or 4 times the basic salary.

Consider other factors that are not included in the above calculations such as these facts: The vehicles are purchased by the government, the salary for domestic servants are not paid directly to the domestic servants as most of the DS are members of the legislator's family or in-laws. Salaries of the drivers of these vehicles are not covered in VM&F as these drivers are already on Federal Government payroll. How about paying "hardship" to my representative for living inAbuja?

Please note that these are just what they are paid as "civil servants" and does not include such other allowances as constituent services and the other allowances the legislators voted for themselves which come from the Legislative vote in the budget. Those allowances are not salary based but paid at a flat rate for members equally.

What this salary structure reveals is that Nigerians have not accepted thatNigeriais a free country. The structure was based on what the British Civil servants received when they were our masters. They had to be compensated for leaving the cozy comfort ofLondon(hardship) for the bush streets ofLagosand for giving up their woolen suits for tropical clothes (outfit) etc. for my representative who never lived in Oji River and who probably have always lived in Abuja in his own house, we need to pay him for living in Abuja in his still owned house hardship allowance.

Members of the executive and judiciary have the same salary structure and allowances.

It is very easy to reduce the cost of governance as I said earlier.

  1. Get rid of all the allowances
  2. Maintain and fuel their cars at government garages and fuel depots.
  3. Make personal assistants federal employees and put them on federal payroll just as their drivers are now paid (note that their drivers compensation are not part of the allowances above as these drivers are on federal payroll).
  4. Deliver newspapers to their offices (how many people anywhere in the world spend a quarter of their salaries on newspapers?)
  5. If they have to entertain, they should use qualified vendors services and those charges should be billed by the vendors directly to the office that has such responsibility. At home entertainment should be from their basic salaries as these are just their friends. If not then; they should return all the drinks brought to them by folks who are coming to say "thank you master."

How difficult is this? I just did it. Will it be done? I have my doubt. But the Federal Board that reviews salaries and compensation ought to try. It is a shame that some of these vestiges of colonialism are still with us 50 years after independence.

By the way, the judiciary and the executive branches plus permanent secretaries, and most senior government staff have all the above allowances and then some. It is amazing that N18,000 wage suddenly becomes N70,200 wage.

Even "money doublers" would have a hard time matching this.

Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba

Boston,Massachusetts