Fenny J Fwa
Let me start with this quotation in the Bible” if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness( 1 john 1:8).
So I start with myself and my spouse. We have been huge beneficiaries of these expensive mode of governance. Let me begin with myself. I was PPS to the Deputy for a period of eight uninterrupted years and two years out of the 8 years I was appointed as a permanent secretary and ended my carrier in that position. It was within that period that the Revenue and Fiscal mobilization commission introduced the stupendous emoluments of public office holders. So I benefited from consolidated salary and other astronomical allowances. In the same vein my wife was a councilor when this high emoluments were introduced. She was elected as member of Adamawa state house of Assembly twice and now chairman of a local government council. So she benefited from all these emoluments. So when I speak about high cost of governance, I’m equally a beneficiary with my family. In conformity with the scripture quoted above I’m also a sinner and therefore guilty as charged and also In line with the same, I confessed my sins and I hope I shall be cleanse of all unrighteousness.
But a lot people that have patronized me on this thread know that i have consistently call for change in the unwholesome act of pilling billions of Naira to a tiny group of us the parasitic elites. I had called for downward review of this during the GEJ era and now PMB era. So nobody should therefore accuse me of talking about this when I’m now out of the service. In fact at a point i did write that it was ridiculous and scandalous for the salary of an ordinary councilor to be about twice the salary of a professor. This structural defects in emoluments of public office holders brought about a deluge of complaints and protest from all segments of public and private sectors which necessitated the general review of the salary structures of both the public and private sectors thereby ballooning the wage bill and other emoluments to the extent that it now consumes about 80% of the total budget.
The culprit for this expensive governance should be placed at the door steps of Revenue mobilization and fiscal commission( RMFC). Nobody asked for this astronomical increase. They just on their own decided that to curb corruption in the public sector, the take home of home of public office holders must be made very attractive. But instead of curbing corruption,it had ballooned it . The corruption in the public sector since the introduction of this astronomical pay rise is unparalleled in the annals of governance in the country. Just few of the mind boggling ones; N10b stolen by only one person former IGP Tofa Balogun, the billions of the pension scam, the trillions of Naira stolen from fuel subsidies, $2.1b phantom purchase of arms etc.
The truth of the matter is this expensive payment of personal emoluments is not sustainable. All states of the federation, including the federal govt are in arrears of salary payments. A friend working with FAAN told me that they are in salary arrears of 7months! In my state, gratuities of civil servants have reached N11b and out of these the gratuities of only 40 permanent secretaries is about N500m. These emoluments do not include the terminal benefits of political appointees such as commissioners, special Advisers, special Assistants, chairmen and members of statutory commissions and boards which could also gulp another N2b. Folks honestly this is unsustainable. If we continue like this, governance will completely be grounded in the near future.
Taking into consideration the present recession and the impossibility of sustaining this outrageous pay packages, we have to collectively do something about this. These are few things we can do get out of this madness.
Payment of public officers be drastically reduced by about 25%. I had advocated this in 2014 when I urged the GEJ administration to put in place austerity measures to mitigate the effect of the drastic fall in oil revenues. This proposal also includes me because I still collect my full salary as a retired permanent secretary.
Immediate stop to this bizarre policy of terminal benefits. Let me give you a graphic picture of the funds so far spent on this strange and universally unacceptable policy. The terminal benefit of Member of house reps is N5.6m that means the 360 members collect every four years the total sum of N 2016m and for sixteen years ie four terminal benefits gives you N8064m. For 109 senators at N7m gives you N763m for 16 years for every four years comes to N3052m. Now this is for legislators at federal which has so far gulped N11,116m. I’m so scared to continue, especially when one takes up almost 10,000 councillors all over the federation that have terminal benefits of N2.4m for 16 years and elected members in 36 states that have terminal benefits of about N5m for 16 years. Oh my God I have forgotten the almighty chairmen of local governments, numbering 774 x N4m x 6 because the tenure of chairmen is 3 years and for 16 years, terminal benefits must have been paid six times. By the time you do all the calculations with political appointees and terminal benefits of governors, the actual annual salaries, the running cost of all political office holders ,it could reach about N1 Trillion. I decided to stop the calculation because the total quantum scares me. It is sheer financial recklessness and madness. Honestly folks something must be done to stop this.
The legislations of houses of Assembly all over the federation jerking up the annual payment of governors is a violation of the RMFC guidelines on payment of political office holders. Just like president, governors are entitled to their annual Salaries after leaving office. These legislations should therefore be abrogated and the RMFC guidelines should be strictly followed in paying governors while out of office.
The running cost (RC) of the both the Executive and legislators is mind boggling and should be reviewed downwards . From unofficial sources, the RC of an ordinary member of house of reps is N7m while that of principal officers are higher. That of the speaker is put at N75m. In the senate, ordinary senators collect N10m as RC, but other principal officers collect higher RC with that of the president of the senate president put at N100m. Not that this RC is monthly. Of course the embattled suspended Chairman of the appropriation committee of house of reps jibrin fed us with frightening figures of the RC of principal officers of the Green chamber running to billions of Naira. At state level when my wife was one time member, they were collecting monthly as much as N1.5m. The same echoes in the executive. As PPS to the Deputy gov, my RC was N500, 000 When full RC is paid but when it’s half, it came down N250,000. When posted to the ministry it came down N80,000 Ie full RC but when it is half it came down to N40,000.
The issue of officials cars have become very disturbing. The vehicles after years, they become that of the office holders and new ones are bought. Imagine NASS buying exotic cars at the cost of N4.5b in this hard times. It’s is my highly considered view that we go back to the former policy where cars are bought and used by office holders and still remain govt properties. In the same vein, official cars should be changed after every six years and not four.
Folks these frightening expenditures on us the tiny elites is an exercise in conspicuous consumption and not productivity and therefore to the say the least its the height of FINANCIAL RASCALITY AND RECKLESSNESS AND THEREFORE UNSUSTAINABLE AND NEED URGENT REVIEW IN THE LIGHT OF OUR FINANCIAL PREDICAMENT( emphasis mine).
I consider the issues raised very germane to our existence as a nation. I therefore intend to publish it in two national dailies after incorporating your critical views. I’m proposing that we organize pressure group to drum some of these critical issues and others that you will contribute to the ears of the three arms govt for possible action. Just like the bring back our girls as per the chibok girls saga, the forum will be very vociferous. This will bring to lime light the financial anomalies in the system that have stifled growth and development with a view to effecting far reaching positive changes.
By: Fenny J FwaDo you ever witness news, videos, articles, or photos that you believe it's good and rich for our blog?, or do you have a true life story that you would want us to feature on our blog; Adamawa Celebrities News? Kindly submit your stories, pictures, and videos to us now via Email: email@example.com, or WhatsApp: 08051600130Connect on Social Media: @adamawacelebrities