No senator earns jumbo pay ― Lawan
...restates commitment to cordial relationship with Presidency
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has dismissed perception of jumbo salary package for federal lawmakers. According to him, no federal lawmaker in both chambers of national assembly earns more than what is statutorily provided for by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).
Speaking when the Forum of Senators led by Senator Khairat Gwadabe paid him a courtesy visit, the President of the Senate declared that what the average senator earns was not commensurate with the enormous legislative functions.
Senator Lawan who craved for adequate funding of the National Assembly assured Nigerians that the 9th Assembly would walk its talks on financial transparency to inspire their confidence.
He said: “National Assembly is going to be opened to the public. I believe that the National Assembly will throw everything opened to the public, let Nigerians know what we are doing but one thing I want to emphasize here is I don’t believe anything called jumbo pay to the National Assembly. The National Assembly members both in the Senate and the House receive what is their salary, I received N750, 000 as my salary but I need to function as a senator.
“My office needs to be properly funded. Therefore, I cannot conduct my oversight without some funding so I believe that Nigerians need to understand this. We need to continue to explain to Nigerians and I will also urge you to explain to Nigerians, they deserved to be kept abreast with happenings in the National Assembly.
They deserve to know how their resources are being utilized, and this is what we will continue to do. I believe that the National Assembly needs proper funding because the legislature is so critical to any national development. When an institution is going to legislate on almost everything under the sun they should have the best and Nigerians should have the best outcome.
“The public also needs to know what our functions and roles are.
I believe that we should continue with the open National Assembly ” In 2018, we had the first version of the open NASS where individuals, Non-Governmental Organisations, were invited and we had a lot of activities with the public. We will continue with that.
“We will enhance it so that citizens can come to the National Assembly, see what we do and I believe that Nigerians would understand what we are doing here and why we attract some funding and continue to attract some funding. So we need to continue to do those things that will make Nigeria a stable and prosperous country where everybody would be proud to be a citizen. But it is not what can be done in one year or even in one tenure.”
Senator Lawan who restated his commitment to a harmonious relationship with the Executive arm of government said there were several challenges confronting Nigerians and those saddled with the responsibility of governance should not be distracted with needless bickering.
“Let me be frank here. The 9th Senate is bipartisan. Our focus is for Nigeria. What we have done is to be patriotic. We belong to various parties but once we are here, Nigeria is our constituent. We have to be focused because of the challenges facing Nigeria: the challenges of unemployment and job insecurity.
“I have witnessed how rancour undermined national development. It is logical and natural that we have to work in a seamless manner before we can achieve. We know what Nigerians need, we know the challenges and we can only achieve that when we work with the other side. We are going to make sure that the budget is ready in 3 months and before we go on Christmas, the budget must have been passed between September and December so that we go back to the January budget cycle by the grace of God.”
Earlier in her remarks, leader of the Senators’ Forum, Senator Gwadabe, said the main objective of the Forum “is to work towards strengthening our democracy through promoting good governance.”
She further expressed the team confidence in the ability of Senator Lawan to offer good leadership as chairman of the National Assembly.
“As stakeholders, we know you are committed to adding value to our nascent democracy. We are convinced that you will add value, we know your capacity.”