While the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammad Buhari and the 8th national assembly settle into office, a new era for change, which is sallied in transparency and accountability is minced with an imminent pay cut report, which is beginning to loom from the National Assembly.
At current exchange rates, Nigerian legislators, who are among the world’s top paid, receive annual salaries of between $150,000 to $190,000 per annum, which is around $160,000 more than British MPs, who make around $105,000, according to data from The Economist.
Not until the plunging oil prices started putting pressure on the Nigerian naira earlier this year, the Nigerian lawmakers were the second highest paid lawmakers in the world.
An influential Nigerian technology hub, Co-Creation Hub, BudgetIT, is leading a campaign on social media tagged #OpenNASS, which is focused on making budgetary information accessible to Nigerians.
Quartz reported that the average legislators’ pay is more than 50 times Nigeria‘s GDP per capita. In a country where millions live on less than two dollars daily and minimum wage is set at $90 a month, the legislator’s bumper pay has been described as outrageous.
The campaign for a cut in the National Assembly’s funds as a new government comes in is fitting as President Buhari, who will earn less than the lawmakers, has a reputation for being modest and austere.
Between 2011 and 2014, the National Assembly received N150 billion yearly but will receive N120 billion in 2015 according to the recently passed 2015 budget.
BudgIT’s estimation also shows that since 1999, the National Assembly has received about N1.26 trillion yet there has been little accountability.
But all that could be change soon as the #OpenNASS campaign has won significant support from Bukola Saraki, the popular choice to take over from David Mark as Senate President.
The calls for accountability from the National Assembly will resonate with millions of Nigerians who are keen to see public service holders live less luxurious lives while the majority of their countrymen wallow in poverty.