By Taiwo Abiodun-Oni
The recent announcement by the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation, and Fiscal Commission (RMFAC) regarding a proposed 114% salary increment for public officials in Nigeria is nothing short of a blatant display of bad faith and disregard for the plight of the Nigerian people. This move reeks of opportunism and an insincere attempt to appease public officials, while the labor bodies and ordinary citizens are left grappling with the harsh realities of soaring costs of living, exacerbated by the removal of fuel subsidy and the fluctuation of the exchange rate. Such a decision by the RMFAC is a classic example of eye service (which is a well known trait of the Nigerian civil and public service) and a betrayal of the trust placed in them to act in the best interest of the Nigerian populace.
However, we must get the facts straight on the processes for salary increment for public officials which includes the President and the Vice President and Judges so as to avoid false narratives and half truths.
The process of determining and increasing salaries for public officials in Nigeria is a crucial aspect of ensuring fair compensation, attracting competent individuals to public service, and fostering accountability. In Nigeria, the salary structure for public officials is governed by specific laws and regulations that aim to strike a balance between public sector financial sustainability and providing competitive remuneration. This essay will delve into the legal framework and procedures involved in the increment of salaries for public officials in Nigeria, including the role of the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation, and Fiscal Commission (RMFAC).
- Legal Framework: The foundation for determining salaries for public officials in Nigeria lies in the remuneration laws and guidelines established by the government. The most prominent legislation in this regard is the Remuneration Act, which provides a legal framework for fixing salaries, allowances, and other emoluments of public officials. The Act serves as a guide for the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC), the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation, and Fiscal Commission (RMFAC), and other relevant bodies responsible for determining salaries.
- Role of the National Salaries, Incomes, and Wages Commission (NSIWC): The NSIWC plays a pivotal role in the process of salary increment for public officials. It is a statutory body responsible for advising the government on appropriate remuneration for various categories of public servants. The commission conducts comprehensive research, taking into account economic indicators, the cost of living, and prevailing market rates to make informed recommendations for salary adjustments.
- Role of the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation, and Fiscal Commission (RMFAC): The RMFAC is another crucial institution involved in the process of salary increment for public officials in Nigeria. The commission is responsible for determining the revenue allocation formula, which establishes the distribution of resources among the federal, state, and local governments. The RMFAC assesses the financial capacity of the government and makes recommendations regarding the proportion of revenue that should be allocated to personnel costs, including salaries and allowances for public officials.
- Salary Structure and Grade Levels: The salary structure for public officials in Nigeria is organized into grade levels. Each grade level corresponds to a particular rank or position within the civil service, ranging from entry-level positions to the highest-ranking officials. The NSIWC and the RMFAC work in collaboration to ensure that the salary structure aligns with the available resources and the financial capacity of the government. They consider factors such as revenue projections, economic stability, and the need for competitive compensation to attract and retain skilled personnel.
- Collective Bargaining and Negotiation: In certain instances, salary increments for public officials may be subject to collective bargaining and negotiation between the government and relevant labor unions or associations. These negotiations aim to address the concerns and demands of public officials while taking into account fiscal sustainability and the overall welfare of the public sector. The involvement of the RMFAC in these negotiations ensures that any proposed salary increments are within the limits of available resources and do not compromise the financial stability of the government.
- Approval and Implementation: Once the NSIWC and the RMFAC have made their recommendations, the final approval of salary increments for public officials lies with the appropriate authorities. This typically includes the National Assembly, which is responsible for passing legislation and appropriation bills that contain provisions for the revised salary structure. Once approved, the implementation of the new salary structure is overseen by the relevant government agencies, such as the Office of the Head of Civil Service or the appropriate ministry responsible for personnel matters.
The process of salary increment for public officials in Nigeria is governed by a well-defined legal framework, with the NSIWC and the RMFAC playing central roles in advising the government on appropriate remuneration and revenue allocation. The process involves research, analysis, consultation, and negotiation to strike a balance between attracting skilled individuals to public service and ensuring financial sustainability. Ultimately, a transparent and fair salary increment process, supported by the involvement of the RMFAC, enhances public sector performance and contributes to overall governance effectiveness in Nigeria.