NAIROBI, KENYA – Concern is spreading among civil society organisations that the cost of public administration is close to being unsustainable.
Statistics indicate that salaries for civil servants alone have doubled from $2.9 billion 2008-09 to $5.5 billion in 2012-2013.
This amount is in excess of 50% of the total domestic revenue collection.
The situation is expected to worsen with the inception of expanded parliament, the inception of the 67 member senate and the coming into force of the 47 county governments.
Already, there are some tough talks between the over 300 members of parliament and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) for a pay rise hardly two month after taking office.
Economic analysts argue that the economy cannot sustain the bloated wage bill and at the same time go about financing development projects across the country.
“As a commission, we have taken into consideration a number of factors before settling on what public servants should earn in salaries and other emoluments. We will not waiver in our stand and I would like to inform the members of parliament just like any other public servants that their pay will be reviewed from time to time as and when the economy can handle it,” SRC Chairperson Sarah Serem said last week.
Before the coming into force of the Commission, MPs were at liberty to determine their own salaries.
It became a trend that this was mostly the first item on the agenda once in the august house. It saw MPs in the last parliament take home over $10,000 in pay, making them among the highest paid in the world. This has since been reduced to about $6,000.
During one of the sessions at the induction workshop in Naivasha, governors ejected officials sent to them by the SRC, insisting that they could only discuss their salary issues with the SRC chief executive Sarah Serem.
Calls for salary hikes are also being made by the County Ward Representatives across the country, doctors, teachers and nurses. It will be a major challenge for the government managing the expectations of these classes of workers around whom the economy of Kenya revolves.
Records from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), the country’s licensed revenue collection arm paint a grim picture. The taxman has in the recent past fallen way below the collection target raising fears of a dent in financing major projects across the country.
President Uhuru has in the past warned that the government cannot sustain the ballooning wage bill and at the same time proceed with its development agenda.
“Due to these realities, mine will be a lean government made up of effective men and women that will deliver our development dream,” said Uhuru in a past speech.
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