The Federal Government is to spend over N5bn in the next four years maintaining the members of the cabinet of President Bola Tinubu, checks by THE WHISTLER has revealed.
President Tinubu had set the record for the highest number of ministerial nominees in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic since 1999.
The 48 ministerial nominees appointed by Tinubu is six ministerial nominees more than the 42 appointed by former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
During his first term in office, Buhari had appointed 36 ministers. In his second term, he increased the list of ministers to 42.
Two weeks ago, Tinubu had nominated 28 people that were cleared by the senate to be ministers in his cabinet.
Last Wednesday, the president also sent another list of 19 other nominee, making a total of 47 cabinet members. Few days ago, he replaced the name of a ministerial nominee from Kano state with another nominee and added Festus Keyamo to the list to make it 48.
In 2011, former President Goodluck Jonathan appointed 33 ministers into his cabinet with nine of them inherited from the administration of the late President Umar Yar Adua.
Before then, Yar Adua had in 2007, created a 39-member cabinet which is made up if 32 men and seven women.
During his tenure as Nigeria’s President, former President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed 42 ministers into his cabinet in 1999. However, he later did a review and reduced the number of ministers to 40.
An analysis conducted by THE WHISTLER on the implication of Tinubu’s decision to appoint 48 ministers and 20 Advisers showed that it will cost the Federal Government over N5bn to maintain them.
Based on the Remuneration Package for Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders obtained from the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, a minister’s monthly salary is fixed at N650,135.99. This translates into a total of N7.801,640 per annum.
A breakdown of this amount showed that the basic salary of a minister is pegged at N2,026,400 per annum, motor vehicle fueling N1,519,800, personal assistance N506,600, domestic staff N1,519,800, entertainment N911,880, utilities N607,920, monitoring N405,280 and newspapers N303,960.
The N7,801,640 annual salary for a minister does not include other allowances approved for them by the RMAFC.
These allowances are accommodation of N16.20m for four years, furniture N6.079m, severance gratuity N6.079m. leave allowance of N0.81m and motor vehicle allowance of N8.1m.
Based on these packages, if all of them are eventually cleared by the Senate, the 48 ministers will be earning N28.61m as salary monthly, which translates into N374.48m annually and N1.497bn for the four-year period.
In addition to their salary, each minister is entitled to the other allowances of N37.28m giving a total of N1.789bn for the 48 of them.
For the 20 Special Advisers, they are each entitled to a monthly salary of N590,957 per month which translates into N11.219m monthly, N141.82m annually and N567.31m for the four years.
Just like the Ministers, the Special Advisers are also entitled to other allowances approved for them by RMAFC.
These allowances are N15.54m for accommodation for four years, furniture N5.828m, severance gratuity N5.828m, leave allowance of N0.78m and motor vehicle of N7.7m.
The amount that would be spent on these cabinet members may go up based on the plan by RMAFC to conduct a review of the remuneration of political office holders.
Over the years, fingers have continued to point at the over-bloated bureaucracies- large ministries, agencies and parastatals- that have become a cog in the wheel of Nigeria’s progress.
Experts are of the opinion that the costs of governance in Nigeria are exceptionally high, and the benefits of that governance go to a small number of the elite group who demonstrate too little concern for the welfare of the Nigerian people.
Nigeria’s constitution mandates the appointment of at least one minister from each state of the federation. This makes for the appointment of ministers who are actually neither needed nor able to make critical impact.
In 2012, the ‘Oronsaye report’ was submitted to government. The 800-page report recommended the abolition and merger of 102 government agencies and parastatals, while some were listed to be self-funding.
The report revealed a high level of competition among several overlapping agencies, which had not only created ill feelings among government agencies but also brought about unnecessary wastage in government expenditure.
Speaking on the high governance cost, a developmental Economist, Afeez Balogun said there is need to reduce the members of the cabinet as this show that the government is willing to implementation the Stephen Oronsaye committee report.
He said, “There is need to reduce the size of the federal cabinet through amendment of the Constitution to ensure that federal ministers do not exceed 15 in number and also limit the number of assistants and advisers to the President to a reasonable number.”
He also urged the government to reduce the number of members on each of the governing boards or councils of all agencies, parastatals and commissions to not more than seven.
He said the membership and composition of boards and commissions should be based on merit and competence.