By Augustine Adah
Lagos — The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has stated that the wardrobe allowance for each senator has been pegged at N506, 600 per month.Saraki, according to information on his tweeter page, stated that the Chairman, Revenue Mobilisation Allocation & Fiscal Commission (RMFAC) was in his office on Thursday to clarify the matter.
He stated that it is the sole responsibility of RMFAC to fix allowances of political office holders. “Fixing of remuneration of political office holders is the sole responsibility of Revenue Mobilisation Allocation& Fiscal Commission,” he tweeted.
The allocation of N9billion wardrobe allowance for members of the National Assembly has generated a lot of controversy in the polity in the last few days.
Lawyers and civil society groups have described the amount as outrageous going by the present economic reality where civil servants are being owed salaries for many months due to dwindling oil revenue.
However, the Senate President stated that the fixing of the allowance was done by RMFAC in line with the economic reality of the country.
“With the current challenges we are facing as a nation, RMFAC will be reviewing allowances to reflect the current economic trend,” he said.
He further stated that the allowances would be published on the RMFAC website for people to see and be informed about the exact figures.
“I have just been informed that RMFAC will be publishing details of allowances on their website.”
Saraki also promised to break the jinx on the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) because the country has a lot of benefits to derive from its passage.
“The 8th Assembly will do everything to break the jinx and make PIB a priority. It will do Nigeria a lot of good.”
It could be recalled that in spite of clamour from Nigerians especially from the oil sector, the 7th Assembly could not pass the PIB before the expiration of its tenure early this month.
Though House of Representative members were able to pass the bill, their counterpart in the senate could not do that, meaning that the bill may have to be re-introduced to the 8th National Assembly.
However, former Senate leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba explained that senators could pass the bill because of some several and technical aspects involved which the senate does not have enough time to discuss on it.
“Since we needed to bring in several committees the logistics of having more than one committee to deal with a bill is challenging. In this case we have to bring in six committees.
“Finding a common opening in terms of schedule is usually a problem and because it is very technical, we need to get the technical input of virtually every stakeholder in the sector.
He said it is not a bill that could be treated in a hurry because of several issues and many components involved.
“Inherently, it is not a bill that could be treated in a hurry, it is not possible. Having six committees working together on a bill is not only a big logistic problem but also, quite challenging and a big nightmare.
“For this piece of major legislation, it is important that we thread slowly, it’s going to be a major policy plan for the incoming administration, so if we are around the corner, why are we in a hurry?”
Ndoma-Egba further explained then that contrary to insinuation in some quarters that the bill has been with them since the past four years, the bill was introduced in 2013.