The jumbo salary being paid the country’s legislators, which ranked the highest in the world, according to a new study, has attracted sharp criticisms from Nigerians across the country, including economists and lawyers. A report by The Economist magazine revealed that Nigerian federal legislators with a basic salary of $189,500 per annum (N30.6m) were the highest paid lawmakers in the world.
Quoting data from the International Monetary Fund and The Economist magazine of London, the study looked at the lawmakers’ basic salary as a ratio of the Gross Domestic Product per person across countries of the world. According to the report, the basic salary (which excludes allowances) of a Nigerian lawmaker is 116 times the country’s GDP per person of $1,600. The $189,500 earned annually by each Nigerian legislator is estimated to be 52 per cent higher than what Kenya legislators, who are the second highest paid lawmakers, earned.
An Associate Professor of Economics at the Ekiti State University, Dr. Abel Awe, said the lawmakers’ jumbo salary was indicative of the huge gap between the poor and the rich as well as between the ruler and the ruled. He said it was unfortunate that the country was running the costliest democracy in the world.
Awe said, “This is part of the reason why 70 per cent of the nation’s budget is allocated to re-current expenditure. We are using a huge chunk of the nation’s resources to service just less than 1,000 people in a country of over 160 million people. “We are running the costliest democracy in the world. We can’t develop this way when we spend huge money to service a few people.