President Muhammadu Buhari will take only half of the salary paid to former head of state Goodluck Jonathan, his office announced on Friday.
“President Muhammadu Buhari will only receive 50 percent of the salary paid to his predecessor,” the head of state’s spokesman Garba Shehu said in an emailed statement.
“The president’s decision to take a 50 percent cut was conveyed to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation yesterday (Thursday),” he added.
The annual salary of Nigeria’s president is currently set at 14,058,820 naira ($70,000, 63,500 euros), including allowances, according to the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission.
Shehu said Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo would also draw only half of his salary of 12,126,290 naira per annum.
The announcement comes as Africa’s leading economy faces the fall-out from the slump in the global price of crude oil, which provides most of Nigeria’s government revenue, and a public outcry over the remuneration of lawmakers.
His move is likely to add pressure on members of parliament and state governors to follow suit.
This week Buhari approved a package of measures to bail out cash-strapped states to enable them to pay public sector workers, some of whom have not received salaries since the end of last year.
Buhari has accused Jonathan’s government of leaving the treasury “virtually empty” while figures showed debts totalling some $63.5 billion at the end of March.
The 72-year-old is unusual among Nigerian politicians for eschewing the trappings of power and has earned a reputation for austerity, with apparently little personal wealth.
The former military ruler was said to have had to take out a bank loan to pay the fee to stand in his party’s presidential primaries.
Buhari defeated Jonathan in March elections — the first democratic transfer of power at the ballot box between political parties in Nigeria’s history.