The revelation by Tanzanian President John Magufuli that he earns only Sh400,000 a month has cast into the spotlight the salaries of heads of state across Africa and the eastern African region in particular.
In Africa, Mr Magufuli’s pay is less than a tenth of that of his Cameroonian counterpart and just about a quarter that of Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Mr Kenyatta earns Sh1.4 million while his deputy William Ruto is entitled to between Sh1 million and Sh1.4 million per month.
It means that even Kenya’s deputy president is better paid than most African presidents who do not receive even a million shillings monthly.
Cameroonian president Paul Biya tops the list of the highest paid heads of state in Africa with a monthly salary of Sh5.3 million. Mr Biya has been in office for three and a half decades.
Mr Biya’s salary is close to that of top corporate executives in Kenya such as the Kenya Commercial Bank Group’s CEO Joshua Oigara who revealed two yeas ago that he earns Sh4.9 million monthly in salary and allowances.
However, even then Cameroonian president’s salary is just about half that of Safaricom’s CEO Bob Collymore who in 2015 revealed that he was earning an average of Sh9 million monthly.
Mr Biya is followed by Morocco’s King Mohammed and South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, the only other African heads of state who get a monthly pay in excess of Sh2 million.
Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni is the highest earning East African head of state with a monthly salary of Sh1.5 million, followed closely by Mr Kenyatta with a monthly pay of Sh1.4 million.
Rwanda’s Paul Kagame comes a distant third, earning half of what his Kenyan counterpart gets.
Only nine earn above Sh1m
Research by the Business Daily has revealed that only nine African heads of state earn more than Sh1 million a month.
Bottom of the list is Sierra Leone’s Ernest Koroma who pockets an equivalent of Sh103,300 a month.
According to the office of the president of Sierra Leone, Mr Koroma took a voluntary 50 per cent pay cut in 2015 to help fund the fight against Ebola in the country.
Other African states whose presidents earn less than Sh200,000 a month include Guinea, Cape Verde, Tunisia and Senegal.
Mr Zuma, who earns 22 times what an average South African gets, had his annual salary pushed up by 130,000 South African rands in 2015, an equivalent of Sh988,000, is a trend that is common among African leaders including Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe who saw his pay in 2010 jump four-fold.
However, other African leaders such as Hage Geingob of Namibia, Mr Buhari of Nigeria, Abdel Fattah of Egypt have all taken pay cuts of up to 50 per cent and directed the money be used to fund other needy sectors of their economies.
In Kenya, Mr Kenyatta promised a 20 per cent pay reduction for him and 10 per cent for his Cabinet in a bid to lower the country’s “unsustainable wage bill”.
However, it still remains unclear if the pay reduction were effected.
According to Forbes magazine, Mr Lee Hsien Loong the Singaporean prime minister is the highest paid head of state in the world pocketing an equivalent of Sh14.6 million monthly.
He is followed by CY Leung of Hong Kong, with an equivalent of Sh4.6 million per month while the American President is entitled to an equivalent of Sh3.4 million a month, making him third on the global list.