Earlier today, the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu while presenting the state budget for 2021 titled, Budget of Rekindled Hope indicated he was going to present an executive bill to the Lagos State House of Assembly to repeal the Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension) Law passed in 2007.
What is the Pension Law?
Typically, pensions are designed to take care of the stage by which workers enter retirement and might have their finances restricted. However, through their power over the legislative arms, it has become a tool through which Governors and their Deputies continue to serve as a burden on public funds. Former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is believed to have initiated the trend upon his departure from office in 2007. Edo, Gombe, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Sokoto, Kano, Kwara, and Zamfara states would follow suit.
Benefits of the Lagos Pension Law
- The Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension) Law of Lagos State, 2007 states that former governors of the state are entitled to a house each in any location of their choice in Lagos and Abuja.
- The law also provides for six new cars every three years, 100% of the basic salary of the serving governor (N7.7m per annum), as well as free health care for them and members of his family.
- Former governors would also be entitled to a furniture allowance, which is 300% of their annual basic salary (N23.3m); house maintenance allowance, which is 10% of basic salary (N778, 296); utility allowance, which is 20% of the salary (N1.5m) and car maintenance allowance, which is 30 percent of the annual basic salary (N2.3m).
- Other benefits include an entertainment allowance, which is 10% of the basic salary (N778, 296), and a personal assistant, who will earn 25 percent of the governor’s annual basic salary (N1.9m). A former governor will also be entitled to eight policemen and two officials of the Department of State Services for life.
A Break Down of the 2021 Budget
A total sum of one trillion one hundred and fifty-five billion was presented as the budget for 2021. Here’s a breakdown:
- Economic Affairs – 381.852 billion
- Environment – 50.93 billion
- Housing – 40.28 billion
- Health – 118.363 billion
- Education – 143.355 billion
Why does this matter?
Governor Sanwo-Olu’s bid to end the continued enjoyment of state resources by former officials is welcome as it allows the state to plug one of the most obvious drains on its resources. Last year, a report by the Debt Management Office, DMO, stated that about 26 states that have pension laws for their ex-governors owed 4 trillion naira comprising of 3 trillion naira in domestic debt and 1 trillion naira in foreign debt as of June 2019.