President Buhari Moves To Reduce His Salary And Allowance

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.”
He also said, “He is committed to cutting cost
across board and I see him reducing the pecks
of that office to an acceptable level and this
becomes even more compelling because of the
economic mess we have found ourselves in.”
Another associate, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin, also
told Saturday PUNCH that another area likely
to take a hit is the Presidential Air fleet which
is reported to have about 10 aircraft.
He explained that the cost of maintaining this
number of aircraft is one area that is likely to
attract the President’s attention.
According to him, the President who has
experienced governance at the highest level is
not one to do things in a hurry without
consultation and thinking them through.
Fashakin noted that critics may accuse the
President of not acting fast enough without
putting things in perspective.
He said, for example, “The President has not
taken any definite action. Ordinarily, people
will not even expect the service chiefs to still
be operating now, but because of the exposure
and maturity that we are having in
government; with a person of President
Muhammadu Buhari’s stature, he studies a
situation before taking action
“He won’t just appoint ministers to fulfil all
righteousness, he will do a thorough job and
this is a democracy which he has subscribed
to.
“He promised to cut the cost of governance to
an acceptable level and this is even more so
when the economy like every other aspect of
our national life is in tatters.”
Attempts to get a reaction on issues raised
from the Senior Special Assistant to the
President on Media and Publicity, Malam
Garba Shehu, were unsuccessful.
Calls to his mobile phone did not connect
while a text message sent to him was yet to
be delivered as of the time of filing this report
(8:11pm).
It may be recalled that former President
Goodluck Jonathan-led administration had
made a provision of N348, 342,741 as its
proposal for honorarium and sitting allowance
for the State House in the 2015 budget.
The breakdown of the expenditure on travel
and transport showed that the president will
be spending N1, 306,834,350 on local travels
and transport and the sum of N621, 067,913
on international travel and transport.
The travel bill of the president for 2014 was
higher than the provision for 2014. The 2014
budget made a provision of N2, 378,862,017
for the office of the president for local and
international travels.
For food stuff/catering materials supplies, a
provision of N142, 472,537 was made for the
office of the president.
The 2015 budget proposal included a
provision of N131, 911,315 for fuel and
lubricants for the State House. The breakdown
showed that plant/generator fuel will consume
N35, 344,855; motor vehicle fuel will consume
N85, 843,802 while cooking gas/fuel will
consume N10, 102,858.
For 2014, the State House received lesser
provision of N122, 855,267 for fuel and
lubricants. This was broken down into motor
vehicle fuel, N79, 950,407; plants and
generators, N33, 476,963 and cooking gas/fuel
cost, N9, 427,898.
A provision of N60, 847,647 was made for the
office of the president for advertisement and
publicity.
For the State House, N287,514,283 provision
was made for welfare packages; N174,537,975
for refreshment and meals; N215, 635,715 for
food stuff and catering services; N31,582,475
for medical expenses; and N35,495,233 for
publicity and advertisement. These provisions
are likely to be reviewed downwards.

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