The Presidency has refuted reports supported by the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the just concluded 2023 elections, Peter Obi, indicating that the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission has approved a 114 per cent increase in salary of elected officials.
Obi, in a tweet on Thursday, stated that the decision came at an appropriate time when the average Nigerian is struggling with harsh economic realities.
He tweeted, “I learnt with great reservation, the approval of a 114% increase in the salaries of elected politicians, including the President, vice president, governors, lawmakers as well as judicial and public office holders by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).
“This is not the appropriate time for such salary increment if it is at all necessary. We are living in a time when an average Nigerian is struggling with many harsh economic realities, and with over 130 million Nigerians now living in poverty. This is a moment when recent reform measures by the government have increased living costs astronomically.
“One would expect the leaders and public officeholders to focus on cutting the cost of governance, alleviating the sufferings of Nigerians. This moment calls for creative ways of pulling the majority out of poverty.
“In the immortal words of Shakespeare’s Julius Ceaser, “What touches us ourselves shall be last served.” The leaders, therefore, should prioritize what affects the masses and those on the lower strata of society over themselves.
“The sacrifice, at this time in our nation, should be borne by the leaders. The increment should be reversed immediately, and the savings should be devoted to fixing education, healthcare and poverty alleviation especially in the remote rural areas.”
Obi’s claims were immediately refuted by the Special Adviser, Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, Dele Alake, who stated that President Bola Tinubu has not given approval for salary increments of elected officials as reported by media platforms.
His statement read, “We have followed with consternation the viral story of the purported 114% increase in the salary of the President, Vice President, elected Federal and State political office holders and judicial officers.
“We state without any equivocation that President Bola Tinubu has not approved any salary increase, and no such proposal has been brought before him for consideration.
“While we recognise that it is within the constitutional remit of Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission to propose and fix salaries and allowances of political office holders and Judicial Officers, such can not come to effect until it has equally been considered and approved by the President.
“It is important to note that RMAFC, through its Public Relations Manager, has responded to this fake story being circulated and has already set the record straight.
“However, that this unfounded story gained prominence on social media and in a section of mainstream media, again, brings to the fore the danger fake news poses to the society and our national well-being. The misinformation was, obviously, contrived to create ill-will for the new administration, slow down the upward momentum and massive goodwill the Tinubu-led administration is currently enjoying among Nigerians as a result of its fast paced, dynamic and progressive policies.
“It is important to reiterate to journalists, media managers, and members of the public that stories on government activities and policy issues that do not emanate from approved official communication channels should be ignored.
“Media practitioners are enjoined to, at all times, cross-check their stories to ensure accurate reportage, which is the hallmark of responsible journalism.”