Jakarta. The Indonesian president has not had a pay rise in the past 16 years, making President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo one of the lowest paid state leaders among the world's largest economies.
Jokowi is making Rp 30.2 million ($2,268) from his salary a month, or equal to about $27,200 a year, according to Bey Machmudin, the presidential press bureau chief, in a statement released on Wednesday (28/06). On top of that Jokowi also received an official allowance which doubles his take home pay, Bey said.
That is still much lower than the $203,000 average made by state leaders in the Group of 20. US President Donald Trump is paid an annual salary of $400,000, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel is making more than $299,000 a year.
Mexico and Turkey — not too far away from Indonesia in terms of economic size — pay their presidents annual salaries of $148,000 and $197,400 respectively. Jokowi only earns more than China's Xi Jinping, whose official salary is $22,000. India's Narendra Modi reportedly makes $30,000 a year.
The highest paid leader in the world is Singapore's prime minister Lee Hsien Liong, who makes $1.7 million a year.
Jokowi's salary is even lower than what a chief executive could earn in some of the country's state-owned enterprises like state energy firm Pertamina or Bank Mandiri, Indonesia's largest bank.
In the past few years, politicians have aired the idea of finally giving the president a pay rise. But Jokowi said in 2015 he would refuse such a move, saying it was inappropriate amid the country's weak economy growth.
Jokowi's presidential salary came into spotlight last week after he and Vice President Jusuf Kalla each paid Rp 45 million of zakat mal — an obligatory donation for Muslims paid once a year at the minimum rate of 2.5 percent of the person's total wealth.
That led to some observers speculating that the president has quietly been given a pay rise, seemingly confusing his total wealth with his annual income.
Bey refutes the claim, saying "the amount of income received by the President and Vice President has not changed since 2001."
Jokowi put his personal wealth as he started taking office in 2014 at Rp 30 billion and $30,000, while Kalla reported a personal wealth of Rp 466 billion and $1 million.
Teten Masduki, the presidential chief of staff, said both Jokowi and Kalla have relinquished their roles in their family businesses, so they are not receiving any extra salary from other sources.
The president owns furniture firm Rakabu Sejahtera while Kalla controls Kalla Group, a Makassar-based conglomerate whose businesses in mostly eastern parts of Indonesia spans from auto dealership and construction to energy and education.
"Entrepreneurs who are elected as public officials can cause a conflict of interest if they remain in management [in their companies]. However, as shareholders, there's no conflict of interests. They're just the same as other public shareholders," Teten told the Jakarta Globe on Thursday (29/06) via text messages.