President Kenyatta, DP Ruto, and majority leader Aden Duale at a recent retreat in Nanyuki; they announced pay cut to check on Kenya's growing wage bill (PHOTO: Courtesy)
By Standard Digital Reporter
NAIROBI, KENYA: President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday ordered parastatal executives to take a 20 per cent pay cut to reduce country's wage bill.
He said the directive was a must and any executive not ready to take the cut will be sacked.
"There are several qualified Kenyans who can serve in such positions at affordable salaries, it is now a reality that you are going to take a 20 per cent pay cut," said President Uhuru Kenyatta at a Wage Bill Forum in Nairobi.
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"We are ready to face those who will opt to challenge the decision in court, it is even cheaper for us to settle in court than retain you at the current salary," he said.
At a cabinet retreat last week, President Kenyatta set the stage for salary review in the public sector by agreeing to take a 20 per cent pay cut.
After a four-day retreat at the exclusive Mt Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki, Kenyatta emerged for a media briefing with the news of the salary cut which will be music to the ears of many Kenyans. With the public wage bill soaring to unmanageable levels, the President said the Cabinet was unanimous that the salary reduction was inevitable.
And with the President inviting the Salary and Remuneration Commission to embark on a rationalisation process that will see the reduction of the public wage bill, the focus will be firmly on whether the other arms of government will take these measures in their stride.
While announcing that his Deputy William Ruto had also agreed to take a 20 per cent pay cut and other members of Cabinet 10 per cent salary reduction, Uhuru challenged the MPs, who have been under scrutiny over their pay, to consider going the same route.
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“We hope that other arms of government will follow suit and have their salaries reviewed. The MPs have heard and know what Kenyans want,” Kenyatta said.
And signs that the move by the Executive might have an impact on the other arms of government, Leader of Majority in Parliament Adan Duale, pledged to raise the matter in Parliament for a review by members.
However, the opposition through Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) principals and other leaders from Western Kenya have criticised the move by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto to cut down their salaries by 20 percent terming it as populist politics.
The leaders said that the move was a cleverly crafted plan to plunge civil servants into hard times, as their salaries will be cut, yet the cost of living remains the same.
The leaders said that President Uhuru is taking Kenyans for a ride.
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"The 20 percent pay cut is a farce. President Uhuru should reduce the cost of living first for the people, and then he can come in and tell us that he wants to review their salaries. Otherwise this is a move to make Kenyans suffer even more, when they are already shouldering a difficult burden," ODM leader Raila Odinga said.
The ODM leader said that there are proper mechanisms of controlling the economy other than making the entire population to suffer.
Bungoma Senator and CORD co-principal Moses Wetangula said that the Jubilee government had scored below per in everything in their first year, and thus they wanted to ride on populism in ruling the country.
"Let the Jubilee Government cut down on cases of corruption in its hierarchies, and offer proper service delivery to the Kenyans who are suffering instead of playing monkey tricks. Look at everything in the Jubilee Government, all their performance can only score a zero," Wetangula said.