9 December 2013

Kenya: 100,000 Civil Servants Face Retrenchment

The government is planning to retrench more than 100,000 civil servants next year. According to multiple sources, the retrenchment will be done in phases and those sent home will be offered early retirement packages.

"They will be asked to take early retirement with a lump sum offer in addition to some training on entrepreneurship," said an official in the Office of the Presidency confirm the plan.. Figures indicate that the public sector employs about 700,000 workers, representing 1.6 per cent of the total workforce.

The public wage bill stands at Sh465 billion, slightly more than half of the total government tax revenue of Sh908 billion annually.

From next year, each civil servant will be given targets which they must achieve within a given period or be sacked."The idea is to get rid of the deadwood and retain a lean, well-paid and efficient team that will improve the public service," said another senior officer in the Department of Personnel Management.

On Saturday, Deputy President William Ruto seemed to confirm the plan. "We must rationalise all civil servants to manage the cost of recurrent expenditure to have money for the development of health, infrastructure and education among others areas," he said in Meru.

"It is not sustainable for the country to continue paying salaries of Sh500 billion every month to public officers, which translates to 70 per cent of the country's resources." Ruto said only 30 per cent of the resources remain for development.

The retrenchment plan is being discussed at various levels in government and will be presented to Cabinet for approval before it is implemented.

The chair of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission Sarah Serem has also warned of "radical changes" once job evaluations in the civil service are finalised.

Among other things, the commission wants to ensure that all categories of workers will have the same pay irrespective of their work stations.

Currently similar categories of workers within government are earning radically different salaries and benefits, a situation Serem has termed as untenable.

The SRC plans to rationalise, reduce the number of allowances and fix standard rates for allowances paid to civil servants according to their various job groups. With the rationalisation no civil servant will earn more than 40 per cent of the total of their pay package.

Ruto said the public service including parastatals and commissions will be affected. "We want to run a government that will become beneficial to all Kenyans and not just a few," he said.

The Deputy President said at least 60 per cent of government resources should go towards development. He made the remarks at St Dorothy's School Massimo, Mikinduri in Tigania East constituency.

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