Burkina Faso lawmakers take 50 percent pay cut

Burkina Faso lawmakers take 50 percent pay cut

Wednesday, January 14, 2015 10:43 am

Michel Kafando: Burkina Faso interim president

Michel Kafando: Burkina Faso interim president

Burkina Faso’s interim lawmakers have agreed to halve their pay after local unions and rights groups complained their $3,000 per month salary was too high for one of the poorest nations on earth.

The National Transitional Council (CNT), made up of politicians, soldiers and civil society leaders, was put in place late last year after former president Blaise Compaore stepped aside amid mass protests over his bid to change the constitution to stay in power.

Honore Nombre, vice president of the CNT, said lawmakers had agreed to forfeit a number of benefits initially offered and would now be paid a total of 880,000 CFA francs ($1,580) per month instead of 1.7 million CFA francs.

“The CNT is conscious that we are as a result of the people and for the people,” Nombre said.

The West African nation of around 17 million has a GDP per capita of around $650, according to U.N. statistics.

Civil society leaders who joined the 90-member CNT were in particular criticised for accepting the levels of pay that they were until recently attacking as signs of the inequality that marked Compaore’s time in power.

Although Burkina Faso has become a significant regional gold miner in recent years, the revolution was stoked by frustration over corruption, inequalities and economic growth not translating into concrete change for the poor majority.

The transitional council is due to fulfil the roll of Burkina Faso’s parliament until legislative and presidential elections due later this year are held.

Civil society leaders and some diplomats are keen to see a number of reforms, including on issues related to the mining sector, and stalled investigations into corruption and killings, completed during the transition.

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