One of those functions is to determine the salaries and allowances appropriate for political office holders including the president, vice-president, governors, deputy governors, ministers, commissioners, legislators, judicial officers and other public officers.
The RMAFC recently caused nationwide outrage following revelations it plans to increase the salaries of public officers by 114%.
What’s the story of the review?
In 2009, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua ordered the agency to cut down the salaries of public officers due to falling government revenue amid an economic crisis. The president forwarded the agency’s proposal to the National Assembly for approval, but he died in May 2009, and his successor, President Goodluck Jonathan, didn’t press on the issue which subsequently died.
President Muhammadu Buhari ordered another review when he assumed office in 2015, but his office never received a final proposal, according to the RMAFC.
The agency has attempted to review the salaries of public officers ever since, a process that should take place every five years, without much success.
President Buhari swore in Mohammed Bello Shehu as the new chairman of the RMAFC in August 2022.
A review of the salaries of public officers immediately emerged as one of his most pressing concerns.
The official said in multiple interviews that the current structure allowed directors of agencies to earn more in basic salaries than the president, a structure he itched to change.
He also said he was concerned the last review was 16 years ago and needed to be updated to align with present economic realities.
How did RMAFC conduct the review?
During an interview on June 21, 2023, Hassan Usman, an RMAFC federal commissioner, noted that the review was based on two factors.
He said, “The consumer price index (CPI) from 2008 to 2022 has increased scientifically by 371%. We (also) engaged in public hearings, went to all geopolitical zones, and had consultations with stakeholders, government and the private sector, airing and harnessing views on what increment is fair.
“These two indices — the public hearing, which is subjective, and the CPI, which is objective — were combined, aggregated and it ran up to over 200%. Based on that, we arrived at 114%.”
If you apply the 114% increment to the president’s current annual salary, it goes up from ₦3.5 million to ₦7.5 million; for the Senate President, from ₦2.5 million to ₦5.3 million; and for the Chief Justice of Nigeria, from ₦3.4 million to ₦7.2 million.
The increment would also naturally improve their allowances which are set as a percentage of their basic salaries. These allowances, like the furniture allowance for ministers, can be as high as 300% of the basic salary.
What happens next?
Many other details about the proposed review are still unknown because the report isn’t public, but the proposal isn’t yet law.
For the new salaries to be implemented, the RMAFC must submit the proposal to the president who can approve or reject it. If he approves it, he’ll send an executive bill to the National Assembly to also approve or reject. Only when the executive and legislative arms publicly approve this proposal can it become law.
Usman said the RMAFC has submitted the proposal to the president’s office, but his spokesperson, Dele Alake, said last week he has received nothing.
Whenever he receives the report, the approval or rejection of the proposal rests in the president’s hands.