Salaries and Remuneration Chairperson Sarah Serem rejects counties’ pay demands

Salaries and Remuneration Commission Chairperson Sarah Serem addressing the press in her office Monday.  [PHOTO: BEVERLYNE MUSILI/STANDARD]

KENYA: The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) has ruled out a pay increase for Members of the County Assemblies (MCAs).

Sarah Serem, the SRC chairperson, said Monday they had given a concession on higher allowances and cannot increase the pay further until an evaluation of the job description for staff at the counties is completed.

Already the commission, which is mandated to set salaries for State and public officers, has set allowances for MCAs that include sitting, transport and airtime, amounting to Sh121,000 per month, excluding their Sh79, 000 monthly salary.

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Serem said SRC is fully appraised on the critical issues and concerns raised by the MCAs that hinder them from discharging their duties, and has agreed to pay them a sitting allowance of Sh3,000.

They are also allowed to have at least eight sessions per week.

They are also entitled to Sh20,000 per month for transport and another Sh5,000 per month for airtime to communicate to their electorate. But the MCAs, especially those who represent vast wards with poor infrastructure have been complaining that the transport allowance is measly.

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They have faulted the criteria used by both SRC and Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) to set the transport allowance.

But Serem defended her commission saying the job evaluation done in March this year was based on job descriptions.

The number of State officers as defined by the Constitution and independent commissions stands at over 3,700, with new offices including governors, deputy governors, senators, women representatives and the expanded National Assembly. 

Revenue collection

Serem urged county governments to generate enough revenue to fund the high pay they are asking from the National Treasury.

She said the national and the county governments must also be able to attract and retain skills while releasing additional resources that will be used by both the governments in addressing development issues.

“We want to encourage the county governments to develop and implement strategic interventions that will help them increase the revenue collection. They must attract and retain skills they have and at the same time manage to sustain the wage bill,” said Serem.

Operations of county governments appear to be headed to a halt if a countrywide go-slow by ward representatives over pay persists.

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Salaries and Remuneration National Assembly Members of the County Assemblies