8 March 2014

Kenya: Uhuru, Ruto Take 20 Percent Cut in Salary

PRESIDENT Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto will take a 20 percent cut in salary from this month. Addressing a press conference yesterday at the end of the four-day retreat at Mount Kenya Safari club in Nanyuki, Uhuru announced that his Cabinet and principal secretaries had also agreed to take a 10 percent pay cut.

"We want to lead by example in dealing with this monster," said the President. He said the current wage bill is unsustainable and he wants all public servants to consider taking reduced salaries and allowances.

He announced that he will lead a conference of all stakeholders on Monday to discuss how to further reduce the wage bill. The government is spending Sh400 billion annually in salaries for public servants leaving only Sh200 billion for development.

The President currently earns Sh1.7m a month which will now go down to Sh1,350,000 while the Deputy President gets Sh1.49 million which will now go down to Sh1.39 million.

Cabinet ministers who currently earn Sh1,120,000 will lose Sh112,000 and Principal Secretaries will lose Sh91,000 from their Sh910,000 salary.

Last year the Salaries and Remuneration Commission led by Sarah Serem expressed concern over a rising and unsustainable public sector wage bill.

"We will draft a new international travel policy, which will restrict foreign journeys to none but the most essential," said Uhuru.

"Prudent governance structures and rules will be enforced; wastage in my government will be significantly reduced," he added.

"Lastly, my government will rationalize the recurrent expenditure that adds no value to public service delivery," said the President.

He said this will release additional resources for the transformation agenda.

Uhuru also announced a new budgeting system where Cabinet Secretaries negotiate their requests as opposed to the Minister of Finance unilaterally drawing up the budget with the President.

"A year ago, we pledged to transform the lives of our people. The flagship projects - the Standard Gauge Railway; the laptops that will serve our children; the free maternal care that has already begun to save lives; the irrigation schemes that will feed our hungry; and the establishment of devolution under the new constitution - all these and more now rest on the firmest of foundations," he said.

"The transformation has begun. A chief concern of ours this week was to see what we could do to hasten that transformation," Uhuru added.

The President also announced a significant scaling up of investment in security.

"We cannot be secure if we do not protect our protectors. That is why we are improving the conditions of policemen across the country: we will supply each police station across the country with a motor vehicle; we will provide each policeman with life insurance; and in due course, the pilot police housing scheme will be rolled out in all the 47 of Kenya's counties," he said.

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