8 June 2012

Kenya: NBK Investors Call for Better Staff Pay

NATIONAL Bank of Kenya shareholders yesterday took the bank's management to task over employee pay surprisingly calling for improvement of their salaries.

The bank's outgoing managing director Reuben Marambii said it was rare that shareholders who always ask for better dividend payments could turn and defend the employees payout instead. "We cannot pay more than we are paying now because I believe that what we are paying our staff is reasonable," said Marambii.

According to the bank's financial statements for last year, salaries and wages for the year increased slightly to Sh2.2 billion from Sh1.9 billion in 2010. The bank's chairman Mohamed Hassan said while the bank is eyeing expansion into counties with more outlets lined up to be opened soon, it was imperative that operational costs are maintained at reasonable levels. "We will be going into the counties and also work on the rolling out the agency banking service," said Hassan.

The shareholders grudgingly approved a dividend of Sh0.40 per ordinary share held and Sh0.15 for the preference shares. The bank announced on Thursday that long serving Marambii who has been at the helm for 14 years will be replaced by Munir Sheikh Ahmed. Ahmed who officially takes over in August said he was ready to take the bank to new technology-use levels to boost operations.

Marambii on his part said he will still be around for future AGMs to monitor operations as he was still a shareholder at the bank. During yesterday's AGM, Kenya Railways corporate affairs manager Wangui Mwaniki was elected as a new director of the bank's board. Tom Odongo the acting National Social Security Fund's new managing trustee also officially took over the board seat of his predecessor Alex Kazongo.

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