AG and Treasury oppose proposed huge pay increase for teachers
SEE ALSO :County to put up Sh300m tutors collegeThe teachers’ unions called off a two-week strike in January after Justice Nduma Nderi stepped in to arbitrate the pay dispute. Analyse memorandums The CPMU was tasked by the court to analyse memorandums of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) against those of the Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC) and Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to guide the court in the negotiations. But yesterday, Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi said at a Press Conference that the Government cannot afford a salary increment at the moment and denied that the CPMU proposed a salary increment in its memorandum. During the mention of the case yesterday, the TSC renewed its bid to have the application challenging the court’s jurisdiction to handle the matter heard as a priority.
SEE ALSO :Chaos in KNUT as school year beginsThe Treasury also told court that the Government’s huge investment in mega projects co-financed by development partners would not allow the exchequer to borrow to pay teachers’ salary demands. The Government insisted that only the SRC is mandated by law to manage the public wage bill and its recent efforts to set and review remunerations and benefits was supported by the Government. Thugge also said the SRC had harmonised salaries and allowances for teachers and civil servants and the demands by teachers would have to apply to the entire public service. The institutionalisation of the SRC in the Constitution, according to Mr Thugge, was an important step towards reforming the public sector, because it linked remuneration to the cost of living, on-the-job performance and productivity, and ensured that salary awards were sustainable. According the Treasury, if the teachers’ demands are effected, they would push the wage bill for the national government to Sh808. 1 billion from the current Sh568 billion. “If the public wage bill is too large relative to the GDP, it takes a significant share of our country’s entire resources produced domestically. This places a huge burden to resources and weakens our national competitiveness,” Thugge said. Wage bill He said that the Government’s current wage bill accounts for 52 per cent of the revenue collected by the Kenya Revenue Authority for payment of salaries and allowances, and was in excess of the recommended 35 per cent. “The option of additional borrowing means increased public debt. It is also not prudent to borrow, whether from foreign or domestic sources, to cater for recurrent expenditure, and in this case salary awards... No development partner will be ready to lend to finance payment of salaries,” Thugge said. He said that increased domestic borrowing will crowd out private investment, push up interest rates up and undermine employment creation efforts and contravenes the principles of public finance as outlined in the Constitution. “We cannot therefore afford to reduce the provision for operations and maintenance any further to cater for the salary increase. This leaves us with the option of reducing the development expenditure,” the Treasury PS said.
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