Friday, 5 June 2015

No N3.2bn Severance Pay For Jonathan, Others Till 2016

Former President Goodluck Jonathan; his deputy, Namadi Sambo; immediate past ministers and presidential aides as well as non-returning federal lawmakers will wait till next year before collecting their severance allowances, investigation by The PUNCH has shown.

Their severance allowances as contained in the remuneration package put together by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission is valued at about N3.24bn.

Sources at the Ministry of Finance in Abuja confided in our correspondent on Thursday that the allowances of the political office holders that left office last weekend were not captured in this year’s budget.

The 2015 budget, which was passed by the National Assembly and signed by Jonathan on April 28, makes a provision of N2.3bn for “entitlements of former Presidents/Heads of state and Vice Presidents/Chiefs of General Staff.”

Explaining the reason why the severance pay was not captured in this year’s budget, the official said as of last year when the 2015 budget was being prepared, the outcome of the April 2015 elections could not be ascertained.

He said since the outcome of the elections could not be predicted, there was no way the Budget Office could have determined the number of political office holders that would not be re-elected.

The official added, “You will recall that the 2015 budget was prepared sometime last year and during the budget preparation, the elections had not been held.

“So it would be wrong to include the severance package of political office holders in the budget because as of the time the budget was prepared, these people were still holding political offices.

“Secondly, including their severance package before the elections were conducted would mean that we were pre-empting the outcome of a political process.

“So what we do is to wait for the outcomes of elections and on the strength of this, we can know the number of people that have left office and those re-elected.

“As for those political office holders that are leaving office this year, their severance package would be included in the 2016 budget which would be prepared later in the year.”

Under the severance package put together by RMAFC, Jonathan is entitled to 300 per cent of his annual basic salary.

The President’s annual basic salary is put at N3, 514,705 and therefore his severance allowance will be N10, 544,115 after May 29.

The severance allowance is without prejudice to his other constitutional entitlements as a former head of government.

Similarly, Vice-President Sambo, who left office the same day as Jonathan, is entitled to 300 per cent of his annual basic salary put at N3, 031,572.50. This means that his severance allowance after May 29 is N9, 094,717.50.

For having held the office of vice-president, Sambo also has some constitutional entitlements and perks.
About 76 senators are not returning to the National Assembly either because they did not stand for election or because they lost their bids to return. They are however entitled to N462,019,200 at the expiration of their tenure on June 5.

Like Jonathan and Sambo, they are entitled to 300 per cent of their annual basic salaries as severance allowances. This amounts to N6, 079,200 per senator.

In the House of Representatives, about 290 members are not returning to the 8th National Assembly to be proclaimed into existence by Buhari on June 5.

Each of the members is entitled to N5, 955,637.50 as severance allowance. This means that the 290 members will be paid N1, 727,134,875.

The former ministers, on the other hand, will be collecting a total of N253, 967,212.5. There were 42 ministers in Jonathan’s cabinet. Thirty one of them were senior ministers and 11 ministers of state.

Each of the former senior ministers is entitled to N6, 079,200 as severance allowance while each of the ministers of state will receive N5, 872,740.

This means that collectively, the senior ministers will get N188, 455,200 while collectively, the erstwhile ministers of state will receive N65, 512,012.5 .

The aides to the former President comprising special advisers, senior special assistants and special assistants will get N775, 207,125.

They were 23 of them that worked with the president as special advisers. Apart from this number, however, there were several others estimated at 110, who worked with the vice-president, the wife of the former President and special advisers that were designated either as senior special assistants or special assistants to the President.

This means that there were about 133 aides to the president and each of them is entitled to 300 per cent of their annual basic salary which amounts to N5, 828,625.

Source: Punch
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