Politicians’ salaries and income inequalities.

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In this post Zainab Usman takes a look at the issue of parliamentarians and their pay, in comparison to that of the citizens they are meant to serve. Zainab Usman is a DPhil candidate in International Development and pens her own blog here.


The infographic below illustrates vividly, the disparity between salaries of parliamentarians and average incomes in a select number of countries.

Credit goes to: Visualizing Impact

Though Nigeria isn’t one of the countries sampled, one of the hot burning issues in Nigerian public discourse in recent times is legistators’ jumbo pay. A report by The Economist ranked Nigerian MPs as the highest paid in the world, not in terms of the amount actually received, but as a multiple of GDP per capita. Each Nigerian MP receives about $189,000 per annum as basic salary which is 116 times the average income per person in the country.

Reports and op-eds within local Nigerian media have focused on the issue extensively. Former Education Minister and World Bank Vice President for the Africa region, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili recently accused the National Assembly of consuming over N1.1trn ($6.4bn) since 2005. Running the National Assembly consumes 3% of the annual budget, although this also includes administrative costs.

More recently, a coalition of civil society and youth movements led a protest at the National Assembly in Abuja demanding for transparency in information on how much exactly, legislators earn.


Credit to BudgIT Nigeria


Credit to BudgIT Nigeria

Interestingly, Nigerian or Kenyan legislators are not the highest paid in the world.  Australian MPs earn $201,200 per annum. Obviously, little fuss would be made about the size of these African MPs’ remuneration packages if people felt they were getting value for money paid. Alas!

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