The Southern Governors Forum (SGF), on Wednesday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to allow each state to determine the salaries and emoluments of its public officials.
The chairman of the SGF and governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), described the current practice of fixing salaries and allowances of the officials by the federal government to reflect uniformity as unacceptable.
He stated this at the Zonal Public Hearing on the Review of the 2008 Remuneration Package for Political, Public, and Judicial Office Holders in Nigeria organised by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMFAC) in Akure, the state capital.
Akeredolu, who was represented by his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, expressed displeasure over what he called the overbearing attitude of the federal government while reiterating that power must devolve from the central government to the state.
He said the logic of mopping up revenues accruable to states and local governments into a general pool for sharing in accordance with federal government formulas was becoming retrogressive.
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The governor, however, called for the need to tinker with the current structure to allow the real creation of wealth rather than concentrate all attention on how to share resources.
Meanwhile, the RMAFC chairman, Alhaji Mohammad Shehu, during the public hearing for North West in Kano on Wednesday, said the review did not necessarily mean an increase in the salaries and allowances of political and public office holders.
He explained that the commission embarked on a review of the remuneration package of political, public and judicial officers because of various changes that had occurred in the socio-economic indicators in the country.
But speaking at the public hearing, the chairman of Trade Union Congress, Samaila Alkali, urged the commission not to increase the remuneration of political office holders because local and foreign debts were overwhelming and the country was grappling with a lot of economic issues.
Similarly, the Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Kano Chapter, Kabiru Minjibir, who spoke on behalf of NLC chairmen in the zone, urged the federal government to suspend the upward review for now.
He noted that no amount of increase in naira terms would be good enough if the government did not control the rising inflation and high cost of goods in the country.
From Clement A. Oloyede (Kano) & Tosin Tope (Akure)