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FACT CHECK: Do Nigerian senators enjoy the highest salary among lawmakers in the world?

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Claim:

A Nigerian Senator earns $2,183,685 annually and it takes 1638 years for an average worker to earn such an amount.

Conclusion:

False. The salary plus statutory allowances of a Nigerian senator was compared with their counterparts in other countries. Germany, Great Britain, United States of America, Canada and even South Africa pay their lawmakers higher than Nigeria. The ratio of the minimum wage earner to that of a Nigerian senator is 81:06 which means it will take 81 years for an individual on minimum wage to acquire the salary of a Nigerian senator.

Full Text:

A viral WhatsApp message prepared a list with the title “Senators Annual Pay Worldwide” and just before the listing, there is a sentence screaming for attention “OUR ECONOMY CAN’T TAKE CARE OF SENATORS ANY LONGER”

The message broadcast 11 countries in comparison with Nigeria listed at the bottom.

Sri Lanka –$5100

Malaysia — $25,300

Spain–$43,900

Ghana — $46,500

Saudi Arabia — $64,000

France — $85,900

South Africa — $104,000

Great Britain — $105,000

Germany — $119,500

Canada — $154,000

United States — $174,000

Nigeria –$2,183,685

The broadcast went ahead to give a breakdown of the high payment made to a Nigerian senator to include allowances including hardship, constituency, newspaper, wardrobe, recess, accommodation, utilities, domestic staff, entertainment, personal assistants, vehicle maintenance, leave, car and severance gratuity.

In conclusion, the broadcast message went ahead to compare the salary of a senator to an average worker and made an inference that it will take an average worker over 1000 years to meet the annual take home pay of a Nigerian Senator

Verification:

First, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Great Britain and Germany do not run a Senate arm as part of their parliamentary system.

While they are called Members of the Parliament in Sri Lanka, South Africa, Ghana and Great Britain, they are called Shura Council in Saudi Arabia and Bundestag in Germany.

Verifying the comparison list in the broadcast, Ripples Nigeria can confirm that a Sri Lankan Member of Parliament gets the lowest at $3546.25 including salary and statutory allowances issued on a monthly basis as against the $5100 quoted. The German Bundestag gets the highest payment at $204,971.04 annually while the Nigerian Senator gets $70,911.69 annually to include basic salary and statutory allowance paid annually.

Country Salary in local currency Salary in US$ Exchange rate
Sri Lanka RS 708,285 3,546.25 US$1= RS199.73
Malaysia RM110,553.48 26,394.45 US$= RM 4.19
Spain €42,709.24 50,055.66 €1=US$1.17
Ghana Ghc 155,652.01 25,770.20 US$1= Ghc 6.04
Saudi Arabia SR240,000 63,982.68 US$1= SR 3.75
France €66,144 77,521.43 €1=US$1.17
South Africa R1,137,933 76,283.59 US$1= R14.92
Britain £65738 89,962.39 £1 = US$1.37
Germany €174881.76 204,961.42 €1=US$1.17
Canada CA$160,800 127,089.52 US$1=CA$1.27
United States US$174,000 174,000 —-
Nigeria ₦29,180,160 70,911.69 US$1= ₦411.50

The data for Spain, Ghana and Saudi Arabia only cater for the annual salary with no consideration of allowances.

While the table shows the recent payment made to the lawmakers in different countries, it does not have the same value as written in the viral WhatsApp message nor does a Nigerian Senator acquire a whopping sum of $2 million annually.

The details of the breakdown is faulty as a Nigerian Senator’s basic salary as detailed by the revenue mobilisation, allocation and fiscal commission is ₦2,026,400 as against ₦2,484,245 mentioned in the broadcast message.

Read also: FACT CHECK: Is TETFUND giving Nigerian students N30,000 grant?

Also, there is no hardship allowance given. The constituency allowance is 250 percent of the basic salary as against 200 percent. Domestic staff allowance is 75 percent which contradicts the 70 percent claim made by the author.

The post also mentioned some allowances as statutorily paid annually, but no, the recess and severance gratuity is paid once in four years. While recess is paid during tenure, severance gratuity is paid after successful completion of tenure.

The author wrote a car allowance as being given to Nigerian senators, but that is actually a loan that must be paid back before the expiration of their tenure.

Excluding allowances paid once in four years and loans given to the senator, a member of the Senate goes home with ₦2,431,680 (US$5,909.31) on a monthly basis and ₦29,180,160 (US$70,911.69) annually before tax, which faults the claim that a Nigeria senator receives a monthly salary of ₦29,479,749 and annual pay of ₦353,756,988

Senator’s Salary vs Nigerian Worker

The post illustrated that the average Nigerian Worker earns 18,000 naira, it is false as the current minimum wage in Nigeria is ₦30,000 monthly, and ₦360,000.

According to PayScale Salary data and career research centre (Nigeria). A research platform based in the United States of America published the following professions and the average salary they receive annually.

Nurse –₦808,000

Graphic designer –₦607,000

Civil engineer — ₦1,258, 718

Project Manager — ₦3,030,417

HR — ₦2,178,035

Comparing these professionals to Nigerian senator

Annual Take home of a Nigerian Senator is ₦29,180,160
Professionals Average annual salary (₦) Ratio to Nigeria senator (to the ne
Minimum wage earner 360,000 81.056
Nurse 808,000 36.11
Graphic design 607,000 48.07
Engineer 1,258,718 23.18
Project manager 3,030,417 9.63
HR 2,178, 035 13.40

This means that a Nigerian senator collects what 81 workers on minimum wage, 36 nurses on average salary, 48 graphic designers, 23 engineers, about 10 project managers and 13 HR managers receive annually.

 


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