Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has told the chairman and members of the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission (RMFC) to, as a matter of urgency, review downward the salaries and allowances of the president, governors, National Assembly members, and all other political office holders both elected and appointed, at least by 50 per cent to make the offices less attractive and check the excesses that go with the huge payments for such offices.
Okorocha said this on Wednesday during a breakfast meeting with the chairman of RMFC, Mr. Elias Mbam, and other members of the commission at the Government House, Owerri.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the governor said with the downward review of salaries and allowances of political office holders such positions or offices would become less attractive which would also reduce the tension that always goes with the contest or scramble for such offices.
He also explained that the drastic reduction of the take-home pay of political office holders would equally, to a large extent, reduce poverty among the populace and also reduce crimes that are mostly borne out of the envy occasioned by these bloated salaries and allowances of political office holders.
According to Okorocha, by making the salaries and allowances of political office holders less attractive, only those keen in rendering genuine service to the people would go for such public offices and not those who are coming for the privileges or benefits of the offices.
Okorocha said: “When the salaries and allowances of public office holders, whether elected or appointed, are reviewed downward at least by 50 per cent or even more than that, it would make the offices less attractive and with that, only those who want these offices for service would go for them.”
He continued: “If one knows that at the end of the month your total pay as governor or National Assembly member would be less than five hundred thousand Naira, most people would stay away. And only those with ideas and genuine spirit of service would aspire for such offices.”
“The huge amount spent on recurrent expenses should be directed to infrastructure, while the paraphernalia of offices should be drastically reduced. Genuine people who are ready to sacrifice for their people should be encouraged for leadership positions while those coming for the gains of the offices should be discouraged.”
He regretted that Imo State has never benefitted from agricultural and ecological funds being given to states despite the state’s agricultural potentials and ecological challenges, and called for consideration.
Chairman of the commission, Mr. Mbam, said they had chosen the state for their retreat because of the good stories being associated with the state in terms of security, infrastructure, tourism, hospitality and so on, adding that they were satisfied with what they have seen so far in the state in terms of her development and growth.
Mbam commended the governor mostly for the free education programme of his government and his own personal free education initiatives through the Rochas Foundation, assuring him that they work on their findings during their retreat in Owerri. Thisday