Tanzania’s President, John Magufuli has made a pronouncement that looks to slash down the top wage threshold among senior civil servants by almost two-thirds. The proclamation came as he spoke to supporters centering on how shameful it is that some top officials earn about $18,000 (£13,000) a month, where others received as low as $140. He followed through saying that officials not ready to accept the new wage limit set at $7,000 should begin looking for alternative jobs.
The changes which are to take effect in time for the beginning of the next financial year scheduled for the 1st of July are in keeping with the Presidents promises and proven track record which have earned him the nickname of ‘the bulldozer’. He had promised to cut wasteful expenditure in public offices and had priorly announced a range of cost cutting measures the most marked of which was the cancellation of official celebrations for independence day.
In this recent determination, he justified the necessity of the wage slash by likening the gulf in wages to a few “angels residing in heaven”, while the majority “languished as if they were in hell” according to Tanzania’s The Citizen newspaper. He also promised that Junior civil servants would see their salaries increased as part of the new policy. In the same vein, he used the speech which was delivered from his home town of Chato in north-western Tanzania to announce a drop in the country’s current income tax rate from 11% to 9%.
These two things (slashing income of senior civil servants and dropping income tax rates) are practically unheard of moves in African governance and coming on the heels of one another, they have the decided effect of causing everyone to look up. Tanzanians will no doubt be watching to see the fulfillment of these promises, but more than that, so will the rest of Africa. If Magufuli succeeds, he will give Africans needed evidence that such things are possible. Tanzania and Magufuli precisely is slowly but surely setting a standard for governance that hopefully other countries on he continent will be able to consider.