SHOULD YAR'ADUA GET A PAY RAISE?

Friday, February 8, 2008

This might be old news to some people, but a recent scan of my Google Reader showed that I missed some interesting news from January. The Nigerian Senate voted to increase the pay of Nigeria's President, Vice President, Supreme Court Justices, lower Court Justices, Ministers, head of INEC, Maurice Iwu, and other officials throughout the federal government structure.
CRUCIAL TO LOWERING CORRUPTION, MAYBE?
Now, I understand that increasing the pay of legislators and other bosses charged with the management of important national affairs is a crucial element in reducing corruption. See, the theory goes as follows. If public officials feel that they are compensated well for their troubles, they will be less likely to dip into public coffers. From this perspective, an increase in pay for legislators and other public officials is indeed a good thing.

BUT,
(and yes, at this site, there is always a "but"), is this really necessary? I know that Yardy has 'committed' himself to defending and encouraging the 'Rule of Law' and some of his actions (i.e. Asset declaration) have gone long ways to foster hope that he brings with him a different style of leadership. Yet, I cannot help but cringe at the thought that already rich politicians and their peers are getting a pay hike again! The National Assembly wasted no time in increasing their newspaper, hardship and constituency allowances late last year. That should have more than compensated them. Alas, their increased allowance and the fact that they make much more money than most Nigerians is apparently not satisfactory.

MY CONCERNS
More important, however, is that this pay hike will reinforce the misguided notion that public office equates to financial wealth instead of public service. It is common knowledge that many people see public office as a means to acquiring massive wealth in a short amount of time. I personally believe that public officers should not use their position to acquire wealth while in office. Doing such creates a conflict of interest that is unacceptable. They can instead use their time in office to create the contacts that can make them money after their term in office.

Also, I would rather read that the National Assembly has written and signed a new law that will increase pay to employees in the public and private sector. The introduction of such a law would go a long way to help ordinary people in these trying times. Consider that Nigerians live in a nation rich in petroleum, and yet, the price of petrol is incredibly high by local standards. Additionally, many Nigerians spend a significant portion of their income to power their diesel generators due to inadequate electricity supply. And those are just Nigerians that have enough money to own a car and a generator, in the first place. These are not the majority of Nigerians, because those Nigerians are focused on feeding themselves and their families with the little they have.

So, should Yardy and his chums get a raise? In fact, let me clarify. Should they get a raise regardless of whether it is deserved or not? On this issue, my opinion is clear - No!


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9 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

Jinta said...

if their salaries were doubled, it will not make a difference one way or the other - what does the damage is the unbridled theft going on in all quaters, not pay rises

Naija Vixen said...

Yardy should get a pay raise cos i lyk him,lol...but pay raises dont make a difference -- its just a drop in a whole ocean -- looting is on a whole level!

guerreiranigeriana said...

i think you have argued convincingly enough here...i won't add anything...i concur, wholeheartedly...

Doja said...

No Yardy should not get a pay rise, neither should legislators. Policemen and women should get a pay rise.

Ade said...

I think you article is really interesting but can I make the point that when the same issue arose in the UK a couple of weeks ago - people said that it was important that MPs should be paid a good wage (in the UK, they currently earn around £60k and the average salary is £24k) An increase was agreed even though the government had recently imposed a below inflation increase for police officers.. If we want to attract decent candidates for public office, we need to move towards paying them a decent salary - nothing outrageous just decent - look at what is paid to parliamentarians in the Europe and America.....

TheAfroBeat said...

I agree with Ade that Yardy and co. need a pay raise, but also with doja that the average civil servants need to get a raise (i had read through the article looking for where it would mention that the police would be getting a raise as well, but nope, nada).
@ Solo, you're right about the potential downside, but that's sth that exists already (not that it needs to be worsened though), and i think it's worth giving this a try. We just need to invest in our money tracking systems within the government to make it easier to independently track who's looting and how much. As the EFCC is busy chasing looters from the last administration, it's important for us to implement checks on the new one to avoid new scandals coming to light 3 years from now (and having to chase a whole new set of governors (& their bank accounts) around the world).

NIGERIA POLITRICKS said...

they are all getting paid in arrears; so in essence OBJ and Atiku are getting paid even if they've left office! reason - this new pay structure was implemented and backdated to last yr. add looting to the mix, u will know that a pay rise for govt officials is just chicken change. can Nigerians at least get a scorecard on how well these govt. officials are performing their statutory functions that is deserving of this pay hike!
I see another kenya brewing...

Sherri said...

absolutely not!
i see it as another slap in the face of the naija masses.

they haven't earned it, if anything it should be a performance based raise measurable by key elements within each legislator's constituency.

ink said...

i guess increasing the pay raise can give them an incentive not to steal. its better the legitimate way. but instaed of clamouring for their pay to increase, i think they should focus their energy into serving us. they have much higher than living wages than the average nigerian...when they in fact are 'civil servants' on paper.

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