Saturday, June 6, 2015

President Buhari moves to slash own salary, allowances

There are strong indications that in fulfilment of his campaign promise to reduce the cost of governance, President Muhammadu Buhari may have concluded plans to slash his salary and reduce his personal emoluments.

It was learnt that the President expected the Vice-President and other political appointees to take a similar decision.

Saturday PUNCH gathered in Abuja on Friday that the President would have made his decision public but chose to consult with his close associates on how best to approach the issue without being seen as dictatorial.

According to the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, President Buhari will earn a monthly salary of N3, 514, 705. He is also entitled to a regular hardship allowance and 50 per cent of the basic salary, which is N1,757,350.50.

There is however no information yet as to what percentage of Buhari’s salary and emoluments will be slashed.

But it was reliably learnt that the President would also reduce State House budget.

Other areas being considered by the President included appointment of aides and the possibility of implementing the report of the Stephen Oronsaye-led Presidential Committee on the Rationalisation and Restructuring of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies.

Buhari, had on Tuesday sought the approval of the National Assembly to appoint 15 special advisers, unlike former President Goodluck Jonathan, who had 23 special advisers and scores of special assistants.

It was gathered that the President, who in his inaugural speech, said the Nigerian economy was in deep trouble, might not increase the number of special advisers from 15 as part of the measures to cut down cost of governance.

It was also learnt that the President might look into the report of the Oronsaye committee and the White Paper on it.

The committee had said that out of the existing 541 MDAs in the country, only 163 deserved to exist.

A top member of the APC, who confided in Saturday PUNCH, said that the President had also concluded plans to submit some bills to the National Assembly for the implementation of some of these cost-saving measures.

But President Buhari had, at various fora, faulted the budgetary process adopted by successive Peoples Democratic Party-led administrations over the past 16 years.

A close confidant of the President, Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, had in his inaugural address to the people of the state, announced a fifty per cent cut in his salary and that of the deputy governor.

One of the President’s acolytes, and South East Zonal Spokesman of the All Progressives Congress, Osita Okechukwu told Saturday PUNCH that, left to him alone, President Buhari would not bat an eyelid before taking such a decision.

He, however said, “But you see, the circumstances now are different, he has to do a lot of consultations because the composition of the National Assembly means he has to consult across party lines.

“From the little I know of him, his desire like he said during the campaigns and afterwards, is to reduce the cost of governance across board and this cannot be done without consultations.

“We can’t have a situation where he will be seen as trying to make other party members look bad by taking a salary cut while others are not carried along.”

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