Intrigues As National Assembly Proposes ₦30.17bn Severance Package For 9th Assembly

The National Assembly’s proposed ₦30.17bn severance package exceeds the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission’s provision by about ₦27.36bn.

These figures were shared by The Sunday Punch who further reported that the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and other lawmakers in both chambers of the National Assembly would get ₦30.17bn as a severance package.

A severance package or gratuity is the money paid to lawmakers after their four-year tenure in office.

The provision was contained in the 2023 Appropriation Bill the National Assembly passed and signed by the President, Muhammadu Buhari.

However, Sunday Punch checks indicate that the National Assembly members were allocated about ₦2.81bn, with senators getting ₦664.94m while House of Representatives members would be paid ₦2.15bn.

The president of the Senate would receive ₦7.45m, the deputy senate president, ₦6.93m and the other 107 senators would get ₦6.08m each.

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives is expected to receive ₦7.43m, the deputy speaker ₦6.86m and the 358 members ₦5.96m each.

The severance package of the lawmakers was collated from a document obtained from the website of the RMAFC.

According to the RMAFAC, political office holders were entitled to 300 per cent of their annual salary as a severance package.

Going by RMAFC’s recommendation, the lawmakers were supposed to receive ₦2.81bn instead of the ₦30.17bn budgeted by the National Assembly.

However, The Punch observed that the severance allowance was separate from other financial packages, which may be in place as retirement benefits or pensions for some of the political office holders.

The ninth National Assembly’s severance package was ₦7bn higher than what was approved by the Senator Bukola Saraki-led eighth assembly.

At the twilight of the Saraki-led assembly, the sum of ₦23.68bn was approved as a severance package for lawmakers at the time.

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However, Lawan and Gbajabiamila claimed the ₦30.17bn would also cover the inauguration of the 10th assembly.

The sum of ₦10 billion was earmarked for the construction of the National Assembly Service Commission building and ₦2.5bn was set aside for the completion of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies headquarters located along Airport Road in Abuja.

In the ₦967.48bn statutory transfers, the Senate got ₦33.27bn and the House of Representatives got ₦51.99bn.

In a statement in October, RMAFC said it would begin the process of reviewing the remuneration for political, public and judicial office holders in the country.

In a telephone conversation with The Punch correspondent, the commission’s spokesperson, Nwachukwu Christian, said that the Commission would consult with stakeholders with a view to reviewing public office holders’ pay.

He said that the agency would engage critical stakeholders to determine if the remuneration for political, public and judicial officeholders should be increased or decreased.

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In June last year, the former Chairman of RMAFC, Elias Mbam, said the commission had completed plans to begin the review of the revenue allocation formula.

The review was targeted at the equitable distribution of the accrued revenue into the Federation Account to the three tiers of government and it was to be concluded before the end of 2021.

However, the commission failed to meet its deadline in 2021 and ended up submitting its report of the review of the vertical revenue allocation formula to the President, Muhammadu Buhari in April last year.

In the report, the proposed vertical revenue allocation formula was 45.17 per cent for the Federal Government, 29.79 per cent for state governments and 21.04 per cent for the local governments.

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