Nairobi — Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta announced Friday that he will alongside his Deputy President William Ruto take a 20% pay cut to bring down Kenya's ever ballooning public wage bill.
Also lined up for the historic paycut are the 21 Cabinet secretaries and their 26 Principal Secretaries in what will drastically boost Kenya's efforts for a lean public wage bill.
The paycut is expected to save the Kenyan economy a whooping $141 million annually.
Kenya currently spends over $4.7 billion on salaries of public servants annually leaving the country with just about $2.4 billion for development. This situation has stalled most planned development projects and the gesture by the president and his cabinet is likely to reverberate throughout the entire civil service.
"As a government we haave decided to put to a stop this practise of inflated payments to some members of the public service. My deputy and I will be leading from the front and I want all insitutions to follow suit in these austerity measures. Otherwise we will be known as a country that collects taxes to pay out top officials," said President Kenyatta at the close of a four day cabinet retreat in Central Kenya.
Presdient Kenyatta currently earns $20,000. With the new pay cut, the president is expected to take home $15.5 million. This will be welcome news to majority of Kenyans who feel their taxes are going to waste and especially the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, kenya;s official wage determiner for civil servants, which has been calling on the government to slash to pay of top government officials.
Ruto will now earn less than the Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi and take home KSh1.12 million as opposed to KSh1.4 million.
The Cabinet Secretaries who earned just over KSh1 million will now take KSh884,800 while Principal Secretaries who were getting Ksh874,500 will now earn just short of KSh700,000.
And the Head of State acknowledged that it would take a concerted effort from all of Arms of Government to significantly reduce the public wage bill.
In the meantime, President Kenyatta said his government will also be drafting a new international travel policy which would restrict foreign travel to "none but the most essential."
Without elaborating, he said his government would also rationalise its recurrent expenditure in a move which when taken with the others would, "significantly reduce wastage in my government."
The salaries of the independent commissions, President Kenyatta said, would also be up for debate come Monday when the Salaries and Remuneration Commission engages members of the public service.
"With Sarah Serem and parliamentarians participating, the Judiciary participating, civil servants participating, teachers participating, we will all come up with the recognition that we need to deal with this monster if we're to develop this nation," he said.