22 March 2014

Kenya: SRC Kicks Off Public Wage Bill Debate in Counties

Nairobi — The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) will from Monday roll out debates on sustainability of the public wage bill across the 47 counties, to enable it formulate a policy guiding its management in the country.

SRC Chairperson Sarah Serem will lead a team in one of the public forums in Nyandarua whereas other commissioners will be in other counties, spearheading the debate started by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto, two weeks ago when they took a 20 per cent pay cut.

A statement from the commission said the debates, which will be open to members of the public, will run for two weeks.

It is designed to give Kenyans a chance to express their views on the controversial debate.

"'The policy will help address all these issues, and therefore check on the spiraling wage bill while also addressing productivity, efficiency and service delivery," Serem said, adding "We need to inject productivity in the public service so that we can grow the economy and therefore increase the revenue base. That way the wage bill as a percentage of total government revenue will come down."

President Kenyatta recently directed parastatal chiefs to take a 20 per cent salary reduction, after cabinet ministers agreed to a 10 per cent pay cut, to try manage the unsustainable wage bill that is hampering development projects in the country.

According to Serem, the current public sector wage bill for the current financial year 2013/14 stands at Sh 511 billion against the total budget of Sh1. 6 trillion.

"Kenya has exceeded its expenditure as we are at 43 percent, yet by international standards it is not supposed to exceed 40 percent," Serem said.

The huge wage bill not coupled by productivity poses a great threat to a sustainable economy and funding of important projects as outlined in the Vision 2030," she stated.

President Kenyatta has however, assured low cadre civil servants that the salary cuts will not target them, but warned of a reduction of the bloated civil service, which includes a large number ghost workers.

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