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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Federal lawmakers’ salaries inadequate for constituency duties, says deputy speaker

Benjamin Kalu Calls for Understanding Amid Calls to Slash Lawmakers' Pay, Praises President Tinubu's Cost-Cutting Initiative

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The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, has defended the current salaries of federal lawmakers, asserting that the remuneration falls short of adequately supporting their constituency responsibilities.

In an interview on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’, Kalu emphasized that the take-home pay of legislators is significantly lower than commonly perceived, underscoring the distinction between salary and allowances. He argued that allowances are essential for executing constituency duties and cannot be tampered with, as they are subject to strict scrutiny and accountability.

Kalu rebuffed suggestions for a 50 percent reduction in lawmakers’ salaries, contending that such a measure would not address the fundamental issue of financial constraints hindering lawmakers from fulfilling their mandates effectively.

He elaborated, highlighting the financial pressures faced by legislators, including the costs of transportation, maintaining constituency offices, and supporting aides necessary for constituent engagement. Kalu stressed that adjusting lawmakers’ salaries might be necessary for the effective functioning of governance but cautioned against framing it as a solution to the country’s economic challenges.

In a notable departure from the discussion on lawmakers’ salaries, Kalu commended President Bola Tinubu for his directive to implement the recommendations of the 2012 Steve Oronsaye panel. Tinubu’s initiative involves scrutinizing and potentially restructuring federal parastatals, commissions, and agencies to streamline government operations and reduce costs.

Acknowledging Tinubu’s commitment to reducing the cost of governance, Kalu expressed gratitude for the president’s proactive stance, particularly during a period marked by significant national challenges. He underscored the importance of minimizing government expenditure, affirming its relevance in Nigeria’s current socio-economic context.

Kalu’s remarks shed light on the complex dynamics surrounding lawmakers’ compensation and the broader imperative of fiscal responsibility within Nigeria’s political landscape. As debates over governance efficiency and resource allocation continue, his insights contribute to a nuanced understanding of the ongoing discourse surrounding legislative remuneration and administrative reforms.

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