27 January 2013

Kenya: Salaries Commission Urged to Set New Wage Bill

Civil society groups now want the Salaries and Remuneration Commission to move with speed and set salaries for state officers before the general election.

National Civil Society Congress leader Morris Odhiambo saId this will give treasury and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) an ample time to scrutinize the salary structure of how the government will manage the wage bill.

"We know they are doing something we call job analysis, but we think they are taking too long. Those who are vying for various public positions should have known by now, that after they have taken over office, this is what they will earn. So that if they don't want a particular package they step out of the race," Odhiambo told a news conference on Sunday.

Odhiambo said the group plans to engage the commission in a dialogue soon, on why it is taking long to come up with the salary structure.

"If this commission does not set the salaries of state officers before the elections, we shall be in a big crisis. Because we shall have new state officers who are coming in with the terms of service that have been in place, which we know are not in line with the constitution," Odhiambo warned.

The group is also proposing a lean government after the general election that should constitute of not more than 14 Cabinet secretaries to reduce the amounts of money spent on salaries.

Article 152 of the constitution restricts the number of cabinet secretaries to between 14 and 22.

"Let's start with the minimum number. Then as we move forward we may have more needs and perhaps we see that we need to add one or two ministries to take care of what we had not foreseen in the beginning,"Odhiambo said.

"Our recurrent expenditure is 80 per cent of our earnings that is completely unsustainable. That must be rationalized, so that 25 to 30 per cent go to the recurrent expenditure and 60 percent goes to development," he added.

The new government to take over the country's leadership after the March election is likely to incur a higher wage bill due to the devolved system of governance.

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