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Report: Nigeria’s CEOs Highest Paid in Africa

CEOs of Nigerian-listed companies are among sub-Saharan Africa’s highest earners, a new report by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) has indicated. The remuneration report published Thursday by the accounting firm said

CEOs of Nigerian-listed companies are among sub-Saharan Africa’s highest earners, a new report by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) has indicated.

The remuneration report published Thursday by the accounting firm said the median value of total-guaranteed packages, which includes base pay and benefits, for the heads of Nigerian companies was $323,000. That is the highest among seven sub-Saharan African countries, excluding South Africa, and is based on data published by 382 companies, according to the report.

A Bloomberg report had also noted that chief financial officers in Africa’s biggest economy were among the best paid in the region, with median earnings of $219,000, according to PwC.

Nigeria is home to the continent’s biggest building-materials producer, Dangote Cement Plc, owned by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote. The country has the biggest companies by market value on the continent, outside South Africa, in the food and beverage, banking and energy industries through Nestle Nigeria Plc, Guaranty Trust Holding Co., and Seplat Energy Plc.

The market capitalisation of Nigeria’s stock exchange is $49 billion, compared with South Africa’s $1.1 trillion bourse, which boasts the biggest listed company in Africa, Naspers Ltd.

Some of the world’s biggest mining companies, like BHP Group Plc, Anglo American Plc, and Glencore Plc, have secondary listings in South Africa and represent more than 20 per cent of the total market capitalisation of the benchmark FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index.

A separate analysis of companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange showed a median pay of 5.17 million rand ($359,265) for chief executives across all industries and 3.34 million rand for chief financial officers, according to the consultancy.

PwC omitted percentage changes in annual compensation due to the unquantified impact of COVID-19, and its analysis excludes long-term incentives, leaving some South African executives looking poorer.

South Africa is one of the world’s most unequal nations, a legacy of the apartheid system of racial discrimination that disadvantaged the black majority and ended in 1994. The government is finalising legislative changes aimed at narrowing the earnings gap between company executives and the lowest-paid workers, in a country where the official minimum wage is about 20 rand an hour.

“The time has come for leaders to step forward, take action and actively address fair pay in their organisations,” said PwC’s reward practice co-lead, Andreas Horak.

“It is critical for leaders to be seen as committed to creating working environments in which all employees are valued and rewarded and have equal opportunities to grow, develop and flourish,” he added.

A report released a day earlier by Proshare on the salaries of Nigeria’s top 10 CEOs in the 2020 financial year showed that the average salary earned by all the top 10 CEOs was N376.19 million, with the top five CEOs being those of MTN Nigeria, Seplat Energy, Dangote Cement, GT Bank, and Nigerian Breweries.

The report added that the five company heads who earned below the group’s median pay included the CEOs of Airtel Africa, Julius Berger, Guinness Nig Plc, Unilever Nigeria Plc, and Zenith Bank.

Interestingly, except for the CEO of Unilever Nigeria Plc, the entire top 10 rewarded CEOs pocketed more, in terms of basic pay, than the average CEO salaries paid by their respective companies in the preceding years.

According to the report, “A closer look at the basic salary paid to the top 10 most highly remunerated CEOs in the year 2020 shows that the top three – Ferdinand Moolman of MTN Nigeria (who earned N567 million), Austin Avuru and Roger Brown of Seplat Energy (who earned N484 million), and Michael Puchercos of Dangote Cement (whose basic salary for the year was N448 million) – earned a combined salary of N1.49 billion, an amount that exceeds the combined salaries of the second half of CEOs on the list by up to N106 million.

“The bottom five CEOs which include those of Airtel Africa, Julius Berger, Guinness Nig plc, Unilever Nig Plc, and Zenith Bank all together earned a total of N1.393bn in the year under review.”

Emma Addeh in Abuja and Dike Onwuamaeze in Lagos