- The Nigerian National Economic Council (NEC) has endorsed a salary cut for all political office bearers. The proposal initiated by the country's president, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, follows the announcement by the Finance minister last week that the country's economy was in trouble.
President Yar'Adua who had convened all the political appointees late yesterday, told them that the current remunerations for political office holders in the country was untenable and unjustifiable in the present economic circumstances.
The president said the global economic crisis demands that all public office holders show honesty, dedication and commitment to selfless national service in the discharge of their official responsibilities.
He said despite the fresh challenges to national development, thrown up by the current global economic crisis, the country will provide fresh opportunities to ensure that the country's vision is not derailed.
Nigeria's situation has been worsened by the sharp drop in crude oil prices from nearly $150 per barrel in July last year to the current $41, given the country's budget benchmark of a price of $45 per barrel. Oil exports account for 95 per cent of Nigeria's foreign exchange earnings and over 80 per cent of Federal Government's revenue.
President Yar'Adua urged that public office bearers to be prepared to make personal sacrifices for the greater good of the nation, adding that they should come to terms with the realities of the ongoing global recession.
Locals have said the salary cut is a good gesture, but however expressed concerns that few officials depend on their salaries. They said officials are getting their fat cash from the travel allowances, which they recommended that government should reduce, especially international travel.
Last April, the National Assembly approved a new salary structure following the passage of a bill on the Salaries and Allowances of certain political, public and judicial office holders Act 2002 and Other Matters Connected thereto, 2008, signed by the Harmonisation Committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
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