Saturday, July 2

Why It's Difficult for Nigerian Lawmakers to Disclose Their Total Pay - Hon Gbajabiamila

Why It's Difficult for Nigerian Lawmakers to Disclose Their Total Pay - Hon Gbajabiamila

Femi Gbajabiamila

The Leader of Nigeria's House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila in an interview with Premium Times was quizzed on why the country's lawmakers find it difficult to disclose the exact amount they earn as salary and allowances:

Here's his response:

Let me say this, every human being – whether you are legislator, engineer or student – the first reaction (to request to know what one earns) is psychological. It is a lot of privacy. People don’t like to disclose them for whatever reason. Whether it is because of your child, dependants or spouse, people just don’t want to disclose it no matter how little or big what you earn is.

Let us pack that to one side. Two, people don’t differentiate between salary and allowance. There is a big difference. And that is why under most tax laws, allowance is not taxed. You don’t tax allowance because it is not yours; it is for a specific purpose. When people were comparing earnings of Nigerian and American lawmakers, they were comparing apple and orange.

They are comparing an American lawmaker’s salary with Nigerian lawmaker’s salary and allowance. Even respected magazines like the Economist are saying Nigerian lawmakers are the highest paid in the world. Of course you will be the highest paid if you are comparing somebody’s salary with another person’s salary and allowance.

Now, I challenge you and I challenge anybody to get on the internet and Google-search American Senator’s allowances, not salary. I have done the research. We are talking about a minimum of $5 million for an American Senator per annum. What’s my salary as legislator? My salary is under N1m. But you are comparing somebody’s salary alone with my own salary and allowance which is meant for another thing.

Now, if you want to compare orange and orange or apple and apple, you compare what I earn as salary and that of America’s lawmaker, then, you know whether I am the highest paid or not. Don’t forget an American lawmaker does not pay for school fees or rents for his constituents.

He does not buy Okada (motorcycles) or pay for naming ceremonies. Of course, I am not bothered. But you compare what demand is made on American Senator and his Nigerian counterpart.

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