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Political office holders not overpaid, says RMAFC chief

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House of Reps

The Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Alhaji Muhammed Shehu, says that political office holders in Nigeria do not earn outrageous emoluments as speculated by Nigerians.

Shehu made the announcement in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.

Nigerians recently condemned reports on a proposed 114 per cent increase in salaries of political office holders by the commission, amid what they described as biting economic hardships in the country.

Shehu described information about the salary increase as not true.

He, however, said that it was the constitutional responsibility of RMAFC to determine and review the salaries of executive, legislative and judicial officers.

He said that their salaries were last reviewed in 2007.

“From 2008 till date there had not been any single review.

“Last year, some individuals took the Federal Government to court. These were some activists concerned about the salaries of judicial officers.

“In the court, the judge ruled that a judge should be paid about N10 million a month, that was the court ruling, ” he said.

He said that the commission would not contemplate the speculated increase now, considering the prevailing economic challenges faced by Nigerians.

“We are Nigerians, we are not going to start talking about reviewing salaries of political office holders now because of the challenges that the government is facing.

“As a commission, we are going to do our work but we are not going to say we will do it now.

“We will do it when the climate is right and then we will take it forward to the stakeholders for them to decide on what to do.

“I want to disabuse the minds of Nigerians. It is not true that people are getting jumbo salaries.

“The monthly salary of Mr President is less than N1.5 million; that of a minister is not even up to one million naira.

“I know of an average CBN worker that is not even a director, who earns more than a minister.

“People in NNPC, NCC, ports authority earn huge salaries. What is the salary of a governor? What is the salary of a legislator?”

The chairman said that what people considered as outrageous earnings by lawmakers were statutory office running costs, which should, ordinarily be managed centrally by the National Assembly Service Commission.

“I know some people will say members of the National Assembly get up to 10 million or 11 million monthly.

“Those are not salaries, they are like operating cost of running their offices which in other societies the legislator does not have to see because there is a structure.

“Once you get elected, you make that structure from your constituency office to computers to logistics to the size of your constituency.

Shehu said: “wherever you have constituency office, the workers you hire, It is the National Assembly Service commission that is supposed to take care of that.

“But the Nigerian system allows the legislator to be given a certain amount and then he deals with that and retires the receipts,” the RMAFC chief said.

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Job Losses, Factory Closures Loom As Unsold Goods Pile Up — MAN

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AGAINST the backdrop of sustained pressure in the foreign exchange market and high cost of production, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN has indicated that inventory of unsold goods is escalating to levels now threatening the existence of companies operating in the production sector of the economy with attendant job losses.

Findings show that as of the weekend the foreign exchange market had recorded over 254 per cent plunge in the value of the naira since flotation of the currency by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in June 2023.

Recall that the naira traded for N471 per dollar in the official I&E market on June 13, 2023 before the floatation of the currency, but exchanged for N1,665.50 to a dollar as at February 23, 2024 on the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM), indicating a depreciation of more than 253.6 per cent over the eight-month period. The forex crisis is also stoking inflation, and coupled with high energy costs, purchasing power has continued plummet, stifling demand for goods.

Speaking on the impact of this development on the manufacturing sector, Director General, MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said: “There are reports that across the board, many warehouses and plants of many manufacturing firms are stockpiled with unsold goods manufactured last year. “The development is as a result of the devastating effects of the exchange rate crisis, inflation, fake and sub-standard goods, smuggling and other macro-economics challenges.”

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CBN Lifts Ban On BDCs, Introduces New Operational Mechanism

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In a major development aimed at financial stability and strengthening the naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) plans to resume its weekly intervention in the country’s foreign exchange (FX) market through the Bureau de Change (BDC) operators.

In 2021, the central bank, in a bid to achieve its mandate of safeguarding the value of the local currency, ensuring financial system stability, and shoring up external reserves, announced the immediate discontinuance of foreign currency sales to Bureau de Change (BDC) operators in the country.

However, the resumed intervention, which would reportedly commence today for funding as well as Tuesday for collection, will see the apex bank inject FX into the subsector in a bid to rescue the naira from further depreciation against major currencies, particularly the US Dollar. The collection will be at designated CBN branches in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, and Awka, while details of the naira accounts to be credited for funding bidding will also be made available today.

CBN is also expected to publish the list of eligible BDCs to benefit from its funding using certain compliance criteria.National Executive Council of Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) hinted on the latest developments through a memo to its members over the weekend.

The association also warned members that it will no longer be business as usual under the new supervisory regime of the central bank, as any infringement or infraction would result in outright revocation of license and prosecution.

ABCON said through the association’s various engagements with the central bank, in conjunction with ABCON’s strategic partners, CBN had agreed to its request, under the bank’s supervision, to inject liquidity into the market through a weekly intervention beginning today.

CBN assured ABCON that the new circular on the Revised Regulatory and Supervisory Guidelines to BDCs, which was introduced over the weekend, was only a draft exposure that required the association’s inputs before the release of the final guidelines by the apex bank.

To that effect, the letters of the guidelines were not cast in stone, the association’s leadership told its members, who had been worried over the sweeping reforms in the document, which, among other things, prescribed N2 billion and N500 million minimum capital for national and state BDCs, respectively.

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