Do Africans derive value from their high-earning lawmakers?

Cost of governance is at an all-time high across Africa, new reports suggest. But are Africans getting value for money from those in government, especially parliamentarians who are earning stupendous salaries and allowances to represent them in making laws for good governance?

The truth about lawmaker’s monthly or annual earnings across the continent remain shielded and buried in mountainous government bureaucracies. But sustained interests to unlock the truth about their earnings have continued, especially by civil society organisations and the media.

We present some lawmakers’ salaries across the continent and how they compare with their counterparts globally. Though not all, it is a reflection of most parliaments across Africa.

Nigeria Federal Parliamentarians

Earning: Average monthly salary of about $35,000.

Allowances: Lawmakers have several non-taxable allowances forvehicle fuelling/maintenance; constituency; domestic staff; personal assistant; entertainment; recess; utilities; newspaper/periodicals, houses maintenance; wardrobe; estacode; duty tour; special amount on accommodation, vehicle loan, furniture, and severance allowance. For every four-year tenure which a lawmaker stays in the NASS, the government spends monies on accommodation, vehicle loans, furniture and severance gratuity for all the lawmakers.

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Size of Parliament: 469 lawmakers (Senators and House of Representatives)

Wage bill to tax payers: $16.4million every month or $196.9 million every year.

South African Federal Parliamentarians

Earning: Average monthly salary of $16,243.

Allowances: 86 single economy-class air journeys‚ accommodation in parliamentary villages‚ airport parking‚ reimbursed allowances for travel costs between airport and home and travel facilities for dependents‚ according to the policy for travel, parking in the parliamentary precinct‚ a fully equipped office in the precinct and an information and communications technology allowance.

Size of Parliament: 400 elected National Assembly members and 90 National Council of Province Members.

Wage bill to tax payers: $7.8 million per month or $94 million per year.

Kenya Federal Parliamentarians

Earning: Average monthly salary of about $13,740

Size of Parliament: 349 Members of Parliament and 67 Senators.

Wage bill to tax payers:  $5.5 million per month or $60 million per year.

Allowances: They enjoy a string of allowances and a $48,000 car grant.

Uganda Federal Parliamentarians

Earning: Average monthly salary of about $8,715

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Size of Parliament: 432 Members of Parliament

Wage bill to tax payers:  $3.7 million monthly or $45 million yearly.

Allowances: They are entitled to a $56,000 car allowance and a $1,250 subsistence allowance among other perks.

Tanzania Federal Parliamentarians

Earning: Average monthly salary of about $7,266

Size of Parliament: 356 Members of Parliament

Wage bill to tax payers:  $2.5 million monthly or $31 million yearly.

Allowance: The lawmakers are also entitled to a $40,000 car allowance, and a host of other benefits including a daily sitting allowance and an additional monthly allowance.

Higest Earning Parliamentarians Globally

  • Singapore: £439,151
  • Japan: £165,945
  • Italy: £120,546
  • Australia: £195,130
  • US: £114,434
  • New Zealand: £89,519 (New Zealand’s MPs were given a 2.5% pay rise last year.)
  • Norway: £87,964
  • Canada: £83,034
  • UK: £76,011
  • Sweden: £69,017 (2013 figures)
  • Ireland: £60,880 (2015 figures)
  • France: £56,815 (2013 figures)
  • Switzerland: £51,075 (2013 figures)
  • Spain: £28,969 (2013 figures)
  • India: $474,484
  • Philippines: $4,497,957

As Nigeria, South Africa and other countries on the continent get set for elections to elect new parliamentarians in 2019, it is important to ask if the electorate in such countries have derived value from the huge monies spent to keep such people in public office.

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The concept of value for money means not paying more for a good or service than its quality or availability justifies. Cost minimization and increased productivity are at the heart of deriving value for services offered within public organizations. But who measures these values and do such information matter during elections? Only the electorate can provide answers, especially through their votes.


Sources/Data: Combined publications by governments, parliaments, civil society and media.

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