Clean money

Published: Saturday 30 April 2005

Ministers Mauritania

The government of Mauritania has found a new way to check corruption amongst its ministers -- or so it claims. 26 ministers in this tiny African nation have been offered whopping six-times hike in salaries. Decent wages, hopes the government of this tiny African nation, will make ministers less obliged to supplement their income by embezzling state funds. Their salaries have been increased from 150,000 ouguiyas (us $570) to 950,00 ouguiyas (us $3,600). This, when according to the World Bank, the country's per capita income is around us $ 430 -- a figure that disguises gross inconsistencies in the distribution of wealth, with the majority of the population scratching a living out of less then one dollar a day. The money is expected to come from oil exports. Offshore production is expected to start later this year and Mauritania could be exporting 250,000 barrels of crude per day by 2007. But will high salaries make the ministers less venal?

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