By HENRY UMORU
THE Director-General, National Wages and Income Commission, Dr. Richard Egbule disclosed on Wednesday that the last review and evaluation exercise carried out in the civil service was done in 1976 by the then Chairman, Civil Service Commission, late Jerome Udoji just as he alleged that the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Allocation Commission, RMFAC was encroaching into the commission’s constitutional duties.
Speaking when he appeared before the Senator Adamu Aliero-led Committee on Public Finance and Revenue, Egbule wondered how a country like Nigeria would use the job evaluation carried out 40 years ago to evaluate the civil service now. He said his commission has put in place a process of carrying out a review of job evaluation in the civil service as a follow up to the one carried out in the 70s by Chief Udoji
On the controversial issue of jumbo salaries for members of the National Assembly, the Wages Commission boss, who noted that legislators’ salaries and allowances were not on the high side as being perceived, said that what the government pegged as salaries for them is not outrageous.
According to him, what is outrageous that the law makers spend and which is not in the Act are other allowances and benefits they get from constituency allowances, furniture allowances, among others which are usually abused by the lawmakers.
He said: “Honestly speaking, the salary and allowance of members of the National Assembly is not high, it is not outrageous; what they spend is not part of the salary like constituency allowances, there is an abuse. The 2008 amendment did not repeat the conditions that furniture is once in one year. The jumbo earnings are not from the legitimate earnings of National Assembly members; additional income is what is outrageous which you will not find in the law.”
On minimum wage, Egbule who noted that the Federal Government has never prescribed minimum wage as there is always a tripartite arrangement involving the Federal Government, governors, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Trade Union Congress, TUC, among others before agreements are reached on a minimum wage for Nigeria. He added that Minimum wage was not about the states nor targeted at the state governments, but meant to help the voiceless.
On special salary scales he said it was done through collective bargaining, adding that the special salaries being collected by NNPC, CBN and NCC, were not patterned along the civil service and that their salaries did not increase the national wage bill. In his remarks, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Adamu lamented that it was sad that the country set aside 80 per cent of its budget for recurrent expenditure, saying that the committee wants a situation where 60 per cent of the budget would be for capital expenditure.