African politicians are among the highest paid in the world, especially, when their salaries are compared to the GDP of the nations that they rule which are often struggling and they need pay cuts.
Kenyan politicians have been among the highest paid African politicians for a long time. According to a 2013 study by the UK’ Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority and IMF, the legislators reportedly earned 76 times the nation’s per capita gross domestic product but all that is about to change. Kenya is preparing to slash the salaries of state officers in a bid to reduce the country’s wage bill.
The decision is coming at a very appropriate time as an election looms just ahead of them in August. Politicians tend to be more amenable when they are seeking the votes of the people,
According to a new structure released by the independent Salaries and Remuneration Commission, state officials from the president and lawmakers down to members of county assemblies will all have their salaries slashed.
As part of the pay cuts, the Kenyan government will no longer pay or reimburse special benefits like car grants and allowances for attending parliament. President Uhuru Kenyatta’s salary will be cut by 13% to 17.3 million Kenyan shillings ($166,000) a year while legislators will see their salaries cut by 12.5% to around 7.5 million shillings ($72,400).
President Kenyatta has been making calls for the pay cuts to reduce the public sector wage bill, saying that it threatens to destroy the “development agenda as a nation.” Currently, the public wage sector bill takes 52% of domestic revenue. With the proposed 8.853 billion shillings that would be saved from the pay cuts that percentage can be brought down to about 35%.
The Commission said that the pay cuts would also include electoral commissioners cabinet members, defense, navy, police, intelligence chiefs, and governors. The new structure is expected to take effect after the August elections and is expected to last until the next elections, in 2022.
To draw up the proposed pay cuts, the salary commission said that it took into account the performance of the economy, the cost of living in the country, and the taxes collected, to reduce or abolish some of the generous allowances.
Kenya is, however, not alone in Africa in having highly-paid politicians as we mentioned earlier. Some of the cases in question are made worse by the fact that the salaries are ludicrous when compared to the economic output.
Here are 5 other African governments who need to have pay cuts;
Nigeria has suffered through the throes of an economic recession and while every other thing seemed to be going downhill, the salaries of her lawmakers remained one of the highest in Africa. These salaries are in addition to several generous allowances that would definitely put Nigerian politicians at the top of any best paid MP list.
- South Africa
South Africa’s economy has been faltering for quite some time now and still, President Jacob Zuma whose antics have directly or indirectly led to some of the economic struggles is still one of the highest paid African politicians. In fact, at an annual income of about $272,000, he makes it into one on the world’s highest paid politicians list. In 2012, he approved a 5.5 percent salary increase for top public servants
Abdelaziz Bouteflika the President of Algeria has been dubbed as the invisible President due to how infrequently he addresses his people or indeed carries out Presidential duties. Still, the President who has held the position since 1999 earns an annual salary of $168,000 while the economy suffers from his offhand leadership.
In 2009, the President a Namibia, Hifikepunye Pohamba, and all tax bearers got a 25 percent salry hike. The President’s current annual income is $110,000.
- The Republic of the Congo
Politicians in the Republic of Congo should also get pay cuts. Denis Sassou Nguesso, the President, reportedly earns $110,000 per year and Global Witness recently reported that one month of personal consumption spending by Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso, son of the President, could have paid for vaccinations against measles for 80,000 Congolese babies.