Taita Taveta county Government is broke, says Governor Mwadime

Taita Taveta Governor Andrew Mwadime at Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), Integrity house, Nairobi, addressing the media on county issues on 16/05/2023 [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

Taita-Taveta Governor Andrew Mwadime has declared that his administration will undertake retrenchment and rationalization programmes to mitigate the ballooning and unsustainable wage bill.

The governor at the same time said his administration is financially broke and the bloated workforce has become unsustainable hence the need to downsize it for the region to realise meaningful development.

It is estimated that the county has more than 3,000 workforce.

The governor's declaration to sack excess staff has sparked anxiety among the workers who fear the impending layoffs.

Speaking during the county interdenominational prayer day held at the county government headquarters in Mwatate, Mwadime noted his administration was in financial crisis due to low own-source revenue compounded by huge pending bills.

He also noted that the low equitable share of revenue by the national government has financially starved county governments.

The prayer service was presided over by ACK Diocese Bishop Liverson Mng’onda.

Present were deputy governor Christine Kilalo, county assembly speaker Wisdom Mwamburi, deputy speaker Anselim Mwadime, and retired Bishop Dr Samson Mwaluda among others.

“The county wage bill has burst and this will force us to reduce the workforce. We will introduce a voluntary retirement package for those willing to take early retirement. The excess workforce will be laid off through retrenchment to be undertaken soon,” declared the governor.

Mwadime said the county will only be financially stable if the national government improves on the existing equitable share of revenue to Sh7 billion from the current Sh5 billion.

About Sh3.5 billion is used for staff salaries while Sh1.5 billion is for recurrent and development expenditures.

Currently, the wage bill stands at 53 per cent of the total exchequer, and own source revenue has constantly been low.

At the same time, the county also owes contractors and suppliers over Sh1.4 billion worth of pending bills.

Mwadime disclosed that his administration had received a Sh403 million equitable share of revenue allocation from the exchequer in December last year and out of this Sh320 was used for staff salaries for the executive and assembly while the remaining is for development, which is not enough going by the many stalled development projects.