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Over-staffed agencies to lose excess manpower

By | February 16th 2010

By James Anyanzwa

Six parastalas, affiliated to the Ministry of Regional Development authorities (MORDA), will retrench a sizeable portion of employees in the next six months.

Part of the Government’s restructuring exercise, the move will purge the agencies’ bloated and unskilled workforce, improve operational efficiency and revamp the perennially underperforming state-owned institutions.

The looming shake-up is expected to include a radical review of the corporations’ salary structures, in order to attract highly qualified, experienced and skilled staff, who left for more profitable opportunities elsewhere.

The affected parastatals include Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority (TARDA), Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA), Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA), Ewaso Ng’iro North Development Authority (ENNDA), Ewaso Ng’iro South Development Authority (ENSDA), and Coast Development Authority (CDA).

Fredrick Gumo, Regional Development Minister said some of the unskilled labour would be redeployed, on voluntary terms, to do manual work.

"Right now we are over-staffed. There are workers doing nothing. Some will be redeployed to different regions to engage in tasks such as tree planting. For the ones we think are not doing much, we shall get rid of them," Gumo told the Financial Journal (FJ) in an interview last week.

However, he declined to disclose details on the number of people to be affected, and the cost implication of the retrenchment programme. Instead, he said the six parastatals were over-staffed by over 5,000 employees.

integrated development

Regional development authorities (RDAs) are expected to promote integrated development within their areas of jurisdiction, by implementing projects, such as provision of hydropower, flood control, water supply for irrigation, domestic and industrial use, as well as environmental conservation.

Gumo, however, said these corporations are under-funded and consist mostly of poorly remunerated workforce.

"If we get enough money to exploit the local resources we have in the country, we can reduce poverty in Kenya significantly," he said.

MORDA has so far rolled out projects to be implemented in a 10-year period (up to 2020), at an estimated cost of Sh250 billion. The infrastructure-based projects include, among others, projects on electric power generation, irrigation and drinking water.

Gumo said apart from the Government’s budgetary support, the Ministry would also be seeking financial support from development partners, Non Governmental Organisations, Community based organisations, and other private investors interested for the projects.

Currently, resources are devolved through the Constituency Development Fund, the Local Authority Transfer Fund, the Constituency Bursary Fund, and the Constituency Aids Fund, among others, to directly address various Government objectives and the MDGs at the local level.

Natural resources

The RDAs were formed based on river basins and large water bodies, to promote balanced and equitable regional development, through sustainable utilisation of natural resources.

Effective planning, development and implementation of integrated and multi-purpose programmes and projects have contributed to balanced regional development.

This was achieved by employment creation, equitable distribution of resource and rural-urban balance.

Last week the MORDA launched its 2008-2012 strategic plan, whose implementation is expected to contribute to the achievement of Kenya’s vision 2030.

The plan is expected to create between 213,000 to 956,000 jobs in communities around the RDAs, increase food security in the country through development of 2.24 million hectares of land through irrigation, improve environment through conservation, and management of 1.57 million hectares (15,734 sq. km) of land.

They will also improve water storage and supplies for domestic, livestock, fisheries and industrial use by 15.746 million cubic meters of water, and increase power generation by adding 630MW to the national grid.

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