We Can’t Pay N284b Allowances, Government Tells ASUU

The Federal Government yesterday said it could not afford the N284 billion earned allowances being demanded by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). Earned allowances are the emoluments the lecturers are entitled to enhance academic productivity and increase research output.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige told reporters after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja that of the eight demands made by ASUU, the earned allowances could not be trashed out “because everybody knows and agrees that we are in recession. If we are in a recession, and you are asking us to pay you N284 billion, nobody will pay it because the money is not there.

“So, they agreed and the National Assembly also agreed. But the government offered them some amounts pending when we finish auditing of the first tranche of money that has been given to them in that same area of earned allowances.”

Ngige, who was joined by his Budget and National Planning as well as Information and Culture counterparts, Udoma Udo Udoma and Lai Mohammed, said government conceded to the union the right to exclude endowment funds that accrued to universities from the Treasury Single Account (TSA).

He added: “TSA makes for accountability. You pay in whatever you derive from government funds, ask for it back and you get it. The only thing is that you must do the paper work for the accountability aspect of it to be there and for any institution, they should be able to look at first glance, see the monies they have in account A, B or C at the CBN and know what they have.

“Government agrees to ASUU’s demand but limited it to only endowment funds. But that doesn’t also mean that at the end of the day, the university councils will not have the right to audit such an account. That is really the only area that is still contentious.”

Ngige also disclosed that council approved purchase of 67 vehicles worth N464 million to strengthen the capacity of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).

He specifically said 40 pick-up vehicles and 27 Peugeot 301 cars were approved to boost the commission’s fleet.

According to him, all vehicles are to be sourced locally from Innoson Motors and Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN) in line with the country’s Local Content and Procurement Act.

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Legislative aides protest unpaid salaries, allowances.

The lobby of the National Assembly was Wednesday besieged by legislative aides who were protesting the non-payment of their salaries and allowances which they said run into N1.5 billion.

The protesters also lamented that there were being denied training benefits and welfare packages despite assurances by management.

An aide, Mr. Yusuf Modu, said the permanent staff were being regularly paid by the management despite excuses of unavailability of funds.

“I don’t know why this discrimination exists despite the important role we play to senators and members of the House of Representatives. Today’s protest is to tell management that enough is enough, next time we storm this place, we will not allow the Speaker and the Senate President enter the chambers until they address us,” he said.

Another aide, Kingsley Uche, said they were yet to receive their salary for September.

“Our entitlements such as transport allowance for five quarters of the year, this is since last year -has not been paid to us. It’s the same for our 28-day allowance which has not been paid to most of us. We are entitled to training at least one each quota but till date, we have never been sent for training,” he said.

The Director of Information at the National Assembly, Mr. Isyaku Dibal, while reacting to the protest, said it was not deliberate that the aides have not been paid.

“Their monies come along with salaries and allowances of legislators they work with, from the federal government,” he said.

In another development, the main gate of the National Assembly was also besieged by protesters in favour of suspended lawmaker, Hon. Jibrin Abdulmumin and those against him.

Anti Abdulmumin protesters commenced their protests on Tuesday bearing placards demanding for his recall by his constituency.

They continued on Wednesday morning but were joined by protesters protesting the embattled lawmaker’s suspension.

There was however no clashes between the two groups as security men were at hand to ensure there was no breakdown of order.

Oyo Corps Members Groan Over Nine-Month Unpaid Allowances

Some National Youth Service Corps members serving in Oyo State have appealed to the state government to pay nine months’ arrears of state allowances owed them.

The members made the plea on Tuesday in Ibadan.

The state government had promised to be paying the sum of N4, 000 monthly to corps members serving in the state.

A 2015/16 Batch B Corps Member, Miss Miracle Onyekponwanne, said that she had not received any payment since the inception of her service in October 2015.

She said, “People like us teaching in schools do not even have accommodation and it is supposed to be the responsibility of the school and government. So, we have to accommodate ourselves and it has not been easy.

“With the situation of things in the country now, the N19, 800 the Federal Government is giving us is not even enough. We have to transport ourselves and do other things.

“We will pass out in October, yet we have not received anything. The government should please pay us everything at once or even twice, before we pass out.”

Also, Miss Oyinkansola Omotesho, of Batch B, said “I have not received anything at all since I started serving’’.

“It is better they tell us that they will not pay the allowance so that we remove our mind from it. We would have calculated what to use the money for but our hope are being dashed out.

“They should please be checking how they pay on the payroll because only few people received once but those of us teaching in my school has not received anything at all since 2015.”

Similarly, another Batch B member, Mr Meshach Omaji, said he only received two months allowance since October 2015, adding that other batches had not received any at all.

“Since I started serving in November 2015, I have only received twice. The first one was meant for December, 2015 but the second one was not stated, so I assumed it was for January 2016.

“I have not received any other one since then. Maybe I received those ones because I am serving with the state NYSC editorial department.

“Most of my colleagues have not received any since 2015.”

Another Corps member in a secondary school in Saki, who preferred anonymity, said that the state government had only paid the December and January allowances.

Omaji, however, pleaded with the government to pay the remaining allowance.

“The money should be for accommodation but when we did not receive it, we had to source for it from parents and relations.

“These are people we should even be giving money; no matter how little, rather than them giving us,’’ he said.

Efforts made to reach the Special Adviser to the Governor on Communication and Strategy, Mr Yomi Olayinka, failed.

 

NAN

Sokoto Increases Corps Members’ Allowances

Sokoto government has jacked up allowances of youth corps members serving in the state, with a pledge to begin immediate implementation of the new payment structure. Governor Aminu Tambuwal announced the new policy during the swearing- in ceremony of 2006 Batch ‘A’ Stream II corps members at the state NYSC orientation camp in Wamakko. He said the state government appreciates the services of corps members and government will continue to make their welfare a top priority.
Tambuwal said the new increase affects all categories of youth corps members, with those serving in medical line getting more funds than others. “Graduates of medicine will now be paid N50,000 monthly from the current amount of N36,000.
Pharmacists will now get N25,000, up from the N19,000 obtainable in the past, while graduates of laboratory science and other medical technicians like nurses are now entitled to monthly stipend of N15,000, up from the current N9,000 they are getting from the state government.
“In the same vein, graduates of social science and humanities will now be paid N5,000 monthly, from the previous N4,000 they received as state allawee (allowance).’’ While urging the corps members to reciprocate government’s gesture by being diligent in their areas of primary assignments, Tambuwal urged them to shun vices that would lead to breakdown of law and order and communal harmony. “I urge you to shun militancy, terrorism and cultism. I also invite you explore Sokoto and study its rich history, culture and people,” he added.
Meanwhile, Niger State governor, Abubakar Sani Bello said it is wrong to scrap the NYSC as being clamoured for in some quarters, saying its primary objective is very relevant in the nation.
The governor, who stated this at the formal opening ceremony of the 2016 Batch ‘A’ (Stream II) orientation course and swearing-in ceremony of corps members deployed to the state, noted that NYSC remains an enduring vehicle for national unity and integration. Against this backdrop, he urged the federal government to re-invigorate the scheme instead of scrapping it, stressing, “In my opinion, the primary objective of the scheme is to develop common ties among Nigerian youths and to promote national unity and integration and I feel this is still very relevant.”

Credit: NationalMirror

Stranded Nigerian Students Abroad Write Minister, Demand Payment Of Allowances

Over 300 Nigerians on Federal Government Bilateral Agreement Education Scholarship Scheme abroad have petitioned the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, demanding the full payment of their 2015 stipends, including their allowances and return tickets for graduating students.

The students, under the aegis of “Ph.D and Senior Postgraduate Students on BEA Scholarship,” said they did not receive their entitlements between January and December 2015 thereby causing them hardship.

The scheme is a bilateral agreement between the Nigerian government, through the ministry of education and the federal scholarship board, and other countries to train students in various fields while the home government takes care of their upkeep during their stay in the host countries.

It is the largest federal government scholarship scheme with students in Russia, China, Ukraine, Cuba, Hungary, Egypt, Morocco and Algeria.

In the letter dated January 3, 2016 and signed by their president, O.G Ezinkwo, the students, numbering 375, told the minister that they and 600 other beneficiaries around the world had been abandoned for 11 months with no source of livelihood due to the inability of the government to promptly release their stipends.

They said the development had exposing them to very dangerous and pernicious situation in foreign lands.

They claimed that every year Nigerian scholarship students always had to be evicted from their accommodation due to inability to pay, visas and passports get expired with no funds to renew them.

They also stated that in the process some of the students became sick and could not be treated due to the lack of the mandatory health insurance and were always being threatened with expulsion on an annual basis.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Policemen Fighting Boko Haram Lament Non-Payment Of Allowances

Policemen on counter-insurgency operations in the north-east region have complained about the non-payment of their allowances by the state governments.

Specifically, some policemen serving in Borno State told our correspondent that they have not been paid for about three months, while others who had just concluded their tour of duty alleged that they were under-paid.

“Before now, policemen on counter-insurgency operations in Borno State were paid N30,000, but this was later reduced to N15,000 due to the economic situation. Our set was paid N7,000 instead of N15,000 and we don’t know if this was done by the state government or by the police command,” a policeman, who felt shortchanged stated.

Another police officer who had just returned from the battle front after spending three months engaging Boko Haram terrorists, explained that he and his colleagues were not paid, but were asked to hold on by the police authorities.

“We were not paid a dime, we were simply informed that the allowances have not been paid by the state government. I don’t know why the police were treated this way, because I am sure they would not ask members of the armed forces to be patient,” the police officer said.

But the Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, who confirmed the delay in the payment of the policemen, noted that the police high command was holding discussions with the governors of the north-eastern states over the non-payment of allowances to police personnel on counter-insurgency operations.

Arase who said this in response to questions during his meeting with Commissioners of Police on Wednesday in Abuja, admitted that the policemen had complained to his office about the non-payment of their allowances for about four months now.

Credit: Punch

We Will Reduce Lawmakers’ Salaries, Allowances- Senate

The Senate has disclosed that the salaries and allowances of lawmakers will be reduced in line with the existing economic realities facing the country.

The chairman, Senate adhoc committee on information, Senator Dino Melaye, who made this disclosure yesterday when addressing newsmen, ?said the committee saddled with the responsibility of reviewing the salaries of lawmakers had submitted its report.

According him, there was the need to reduce the allowances of lawmakers in response to the directives of the Senate president, Bukola Saraki, who had set up a finance committee to review the allowance of Senators.

He said the senators had made a progressive reduction in their salaries as the Senate president had insisted they must all make sacrifices for the nation.

“The Senate president said we must sacrifice, as we cannot carry out proper oversight of the MDAs (ministries, departments and agencies) if we have not made proper sacrifice,” he said, asserting that the 8th Senate would be a responsible one.

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Senate Sets Up Committee To Review Members’ Salaries, Allowances

The Senate has set up a committee to review the salaries and allowances of lawmakers. This was revealed Tuesday by the Senate president, Bukola Saraki.

He said the Adhoc committee was set up to reassess the structure, and review the level of openness, of members’ pay to ensure that the budget is in line with current economic realities.

Mr. Saraki said the step was taken due to controversies in the media on the allowances and salaries of the lawmakers. “In the last few days, there have been different reports on allowances for the National Assembly members,” he said.

“I reckon it to be false and reckless which has prompted the need to stir up transparency in allowances to avoid misinformation,” he said.

He said it was due to the same reason that he met with the officials of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission.

He stated that it was to ensure that the country gets an accurate presentation on the true state of all salaries and allowances.

He also announced the immediate composition of an 18-man Senate adhoc committee comprising of three senators for each geopolitical zones to develop a legislative agenda for the 8th Senate within the next couple of weeks.

“The task before us is enormous and Nigerians voted for change and we hope that we deliver to them tangible change,” Mr. Saraki said.

“The clear issues that agitate the minds of the people are the government revenues, the current fiscal crisis in many of our states, the unsustainable cost of governance in the country and the rising cost of doing business in Nigeria.

“This concerns have also agitated our minds individually and collectively and we must provide answers because it can no longer be business as usual.”

He added that the Senate either buckles up and face the realities to forge ahead to ensure a better future for the next generation or turn a blind eye to the extravagant facts that are staring us in the face.”

“Without doing so, we will not have the authority to ensure transparency in ministry and others for public good,” said Mr. Saraki.

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Senators Earn Allowances Nine Times Higher Than Basic Salary, Find Out Total Sum

Nigerians that have expressed surprise that each senator receives N506,600 per annum as wardrobe allowance may be in for a shocker as the lawmakers receive far more allowances under different other categories.

Investigation showed that senators’ allowances totalled N18,642,880 on annual basis. In all, the allowance each senator receives is nine times more than his annual salary. A senator’s salary is pegged at N2,026,400 per annum.

Each senator or a member of the House of Representatives is entitled to 19 different allowances. These allowances are for vehicle maintenance and fuelling; domestic staff, entertainment, utilities, personal assistant, constituency, wardrobe, house maintenance, newspapers, recess, accommodation, furniture, severance, tour duty, estacode, special assistant, security, legislative aide and medical.

These allowances are specified in the Remuneration Package for Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders prepared by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission.

On an annual basis, the 107 senators receive   N1,994,788,160 as allowances. Only 107 senators are eligible for these allowances. The President of the Senate and Deputy President of the Senate receive fewer allowances because most of their needs are fully provided for by the state.

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El-Rufa’i Begs Kaduna Lawmakers To Cut Salaries, Allowances

Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufa’i, has begged members of the House of Assembly to review their salaries and allowances downward in order to generate more revenue for the development of the state.

“The Deputy Governor and I have signalled our intention in this regard by announcing that we are taking a pay cut of 50 per cent of our salary and allowances until the fiscal situation of the state improves,” El-Rufa’i said, yesterday, when he paid a visit to the House of Assembly.

“We appeal to all political office holders to embrace this example and attitude of sacrifice,” h said, adding that after paying salaries of civil servants, government was left with only 20 per cent of its revenue.

Nasir-el-Rufai

According to him,  “Once done with paying salaries, allowances, overheads and pensions, the state is unable to do much by way of building infrastructure or providing services. The stark fact is that Kaduna State spends 80 per cent of its total revenues on its public servants and political office holders.

“Can we as elected leaders deliver any significant service or implement progressive actions or attain desirable outcomes for the majority of our people if we devote only 20 per cent of available resources to their needs? Would we not be undermining the very rationale of democracy if, after being elected by majority vote, we uphold a system that solely serves the pleasures of a servant-minority?

“How many good roads or decent hospitals can we build and maintain when we leave so little monies for the things that actually matter?  The elections that have thrust the responsibility of governance on us reflect the yearning of our people for leaders that are competent, responsive and willing to offer dedicated service.

“As elected officials, we must view our massive mandates as instructions by our people for unrelenting work on their behalf. The change they voted for is for substantive improvements in the delivery of public goods, a new way of doing things and the prioritisation of their needs.

“As you are aware, the executive branch of this government has been taking briefings from the ministries, departments and agencies that constitute the public service of Kaduna State,” he added

Senators Elect Advocate For Drastic Reduction Of Top Govt. Functionaries, Lawmakers’ Allowances

Some senators-elect have described as unacceptable the high cost of running government in the country, demanding immediate review so that the incoming administration of the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, can achieve meaningful development.

Specifically, the senators-elect, who spoke in separate interviews with our correspondent in Abuja, advocated a drastic reduction in the allowances accruable to top government functionaries and the lawmakers.

Ben Bruce (PDP, Bayelsa East), described as unjustifiable the fact that the National Assembly consumed three percent of the national budget.

He said, “If a company’s management spends 88 percent of its income to run the organisation, it will collapse. So, government in Nigeria at the moment is inefficient. It is now time to talk about how to reduce the cost of running the government.

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Court Orders N’Assembly To Disclose Allowance Paid To Lawmakers

A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the National Assembly to disclose financial details of its highly secretive constituency allowances, in a landmark judgment that may unearth the true scale of allowances earned by Nigerian lawmakers.

The judgment was delivered by Justice Abdu Kafarati in a Freedom of Information suit, filed against the National Assembly by a nongovernmental organization, the Legal Defence and Assistance Project, LEDAP.

Details of the judgment shows the court directed the Clerk of the National Assembly, Salisu Maikasuwa, to declare all budgetary allocations to members of the National Assembly for Constituency Projects between 2011 and 2013.

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