Nigerian Lawmakers Live in Luxury While Workers Earn Peanuts – Ali Ndume
Senator Ali Ndume has slammed his fellow lawmakers and top Government officials for earning luxury wages while the average Nigerian earns peanuts.
Senator Ndume stated this in reaction to views expressed by vice President Yemi Osinbajo and former Emir, Sanusi Lamido during en economy webinar on Friday.
Sanusi expressed the fact that Nigeria’s Governance structure is set up to bankrupt the country and asked the vice President what the Buhari administration intended to do about it post COVID-19.
In response, VP Osinbajo admitted that the structure of governance was indeed faulty but the burden of change lay on lawmakers.
“There is no question that we are dealing with large and expensive government, but as you know, given the current constitutional structure, those who would have to vote to reduce (the size of) government, especially to become part-time legislators, are the very legislators themselves.”
Senator Ndume said the position of both men validated his position that running a Presidential system of government is too expensive and no longer realistic giving the present economic realities.
“We have a budget of N10tn and only 30 per cent is going to the majority, whereas 70 per cent will be spent on a few minority. The system we are practising now is not fair either morally or socially.
“In the current system, workers are not being paid living wages, whereas a privileged few are earning luxury wages. The National Assembly members, including me, for instance, are paid luxury wages.
“How can we live comfortably when only a few of us are living a life of luxury while the majority are living in abject poverty? The N30,000 minimum wage is too small; it can make workers engage in corruption in order to survive.”
He stated further that while it would benefit the country to shift to a parliamentary system of government, lawmakers are enjoying the system and may not like a change.
“Parliamentary system is effective in the sense that the head of government is more or less one among equals of the parliamentarians.
Therefore, accountability is achieved in the chamber in the sense that the prime minister has to be in the parliament every day, and he must give account of government to his colleagues.
“Also, ministers are selected among the elected parliamentarians. The idea is to reduce the cost of governance and make it more effective.”
Ndume concluded that the way forward was for legal luminaries in the country to put an agreement with which everyone can work with.