By Rev. Paul Bala Samura
If you are asked to name the world’s highest paid politicians, who will top your list? Who will be in your top three? Top five? Top ten? Most likely only few will have their guesses right. It was when I went for a dinner in a neighbourhood restaurant with a Malaysian and Tanzanian classmates that we started discussing world leaders, salaries, leadership skills, marriages, etc.. Our Malaysian friend was quick to single out Singapore as the cleanest country in the world, whose president is also the world’s highest paid leader. The irony, as he made us to believe was that Singapore imports almost everything including sand or stone because it is an island.
Upon arriving into my hostel I grabbed my laptop to confirm what I heard during dinner. And sure enough, I bumped into a webpage displaying the world’s top ten highest paid political leaders. I quickly copied the names and started pondering at many research questions such as: Why is a small country like Singapore of 5.1 million could pay her leader higher than super world powers such America, England, China? How did Africa (poorest continent) get to the top three? Why did the top oil producing nations could not make it to the top ten? What are the main sources of income of these top ten countries?
These questions plunged me into another research in order to discover some facts that I can share with our esteemed readers. And here are some facts about the top ten highest paid political leaders. The leaders are listed in order of annual salary.
Lee Hsien Loung, Prime Minister of Singapore, $2,856,930.
The population of Singapore is 5,183,700. The port of Singapore is one of the busiest ports in the world, second freest economy in the world, and one of the least corrupt countries. It is the 14th largest exporter and 15th largest importer in the world. There are 1,500 Chinese companies and 1,500 Indian as well. Has 7,000 multinational corporations from the US, Japan, and Europe, the world’s 4th leading financial centres. World Bank ranked Singapore as the easiest place to do business in the world. Singapore exports $358.4 Billion and imports $310.4 billion annually. It has a public debt of 117.6% and a foreign reserve of $233.368 billion. The unemployed economically active people above age 15 are about 2%. Lee makes more money in an hour than the average Singaporean in a month. Can you guess the reason for this? ( if you can’t, go to Singapore and ask Lee).
Donald Tsang, Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong, $513, 245.
Hong Kong though under China is an autonomous country with a population of 7,108,100, and enjoys low taxation and free trade. Also enjoys numerous high international rankings such as economic freedom, financial and economic competitiveness, quality of life, corrupt perception and Human Development Index. Hong Kong has high developed capitalist economy, the freest in the world by the Index Economic Freedom for 15 consecutive years. It is the second easiest place to do business in the world, a leading centre for management, financial, IT, business consultation and professional services. It is the most expensive place for expatriates. Hong Kong’s labour force is 3.2343 million while unemployment accounts for only 3.4%. Public debt is 0.001% and public reserve is $272,617 billion. (Sierra Leone should better recruit workers for Hong Kong than for Irag, Afghanistan or Sudan.)
Raila Odinga, Prime Minister of Kenya, $427,886.
Kenya, an East African nation, has a population of 38,610,097. Lake Victoria, the world second largest fresh-water lake and the world’s largest tropical lake is found in Kenya. Perhaps this is the only country that is run by a president and vice president, a prime minister and two deputy prime ministers. Its economy is the largest by GDP in East and Central Africa. Highest source of income is the Telecommunication Sector which contributes 62% of its GDP. Though ranked poorly by Transparency International, its Agricultural Sector employs 75% of the nation’s labour force. Annual revenues is $6.858 billion and expends $8.759 billion with a public debt of $7.729 billion (2009). Unemployment is 40% (2008). No foreign reserve.
Barrack Obama, President of USA, $400,000
The United States of America has a population of 312,560,000, making her the third largest by both land area and population in the world. The US is one the world’s most ethnically diverse and multicultural nation, the world’s largest national economy in 2010 with a GDP of $14.53 Trillion. Has a capitalist fixed economy with an unemployed rate of 9.1% as of September 2011. Is the largest importer of goods and third largest exporter. Its private sector constitutes 86.4% in 2009.
Export goods include agricultural products (soybeans, fruit, corn) 9.2%, industrial supplies (organic chemicals) 26.8%, capital goods (transistors, aircraft, motor vehicle parts, computers, telecommunications equipment) 49.0%, consumer goods (automobiles, medicines) 15.0% (2009). Total exports amount to $1.280 trillion (2010).
Import goods are agricultural products 4.9%, industrial supplies 32.9% (crude oil 8.2%), capital goods 30.4% (computers, telecommunications equipment, motor vehicle parts, office machines, electric power machinery), consumer goods 31.8% (automobiles, clothing, medicines, furniture, toys) (2009). Total imports account for $1.948 trillion (2010).
Public debt is $14.72 trillion (Sept. 2011) while their foreign reserve is $140.607 billion (March 2011).
Nicholas Sarhozy, President of France, $345, 423.
France is the fifth largest national economy in the world as measured by nominal GDP and ninth-largest as measured by Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). It has the second largest economy in Europe after Germany. France’s GDP is $2.562 trillion while its GDP per capita is $38,016 (2008). Labour force is 28.21 million and labour force in service is 71.8%, leaving unemployment rate at 9.6% (Feb. 2011). Average gross monthly salary is $5,307 (2006) and average net salary is $2,468. (Reader , do you know where the rest goes? TAXES and BILLS).
France is the 26th easiest country to do business in the world. Annual imports amount to $577.7 billion (2010) and exports $508.7. Total revenues are $1.241 trillion and expends $1.441 trillion. Though has a foreign reserve of $191.689 billion, France has accumulated a public debt of $83.5%.