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State to freeze employment in public service, Deputy President William Ruto says

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By - FELIX OLICK | July 20th 2013

By FELIX OLICK

KENYA: The Government is planning to freeze any employment in the public service and increase in salaries and allowances.

Deputy President William Ruto said the radical decision is to reduce the spiralling wage bill in the public sector that is threatening the growth of the economy.

He termed the wage bill, which stands at Sh458 billion, ‘a huge monster’ in the Government’s expenditure schedule that would not allow the Jubilee Government grow the economy by double digits.

“The wage bill is a huge monster in our expenditure schedule. In low income economies like Kenya, only 7 per cent of the GDP is allowed to go to wages. But our wage bill currently stands at 14.8 per cent. Almost twice of what is conventionally acceptable,” Ruto emphasised during an interview with KTN on Thursday night.

The Deputy President said a whopping 56 per cent of all revenue collected by the Government is spent on paying civil servants, which is unacceptable.

Debates

“It’s not morally right for us to collect taxes from 40 million Kenyans and 56 per cent of that money is used to pay only 700,000 people. We need to freeze all employment in the public service. Kenya cannot be a nation of paying salaries,” he said.

Ruto said they would soon table the Productivity Bill in Parliament that would ensure every civil servant is ‘measured by what they can deliver’.

He also said they are restructuring the civil service and employees who do not have the requisite skills would be sent home in three years.

“I met with Cotu yesterday (Wednesday) and agreed that we need to have a national debate on the wage bill. As we talk today the Government is a better payer than even the private sector. But the Government is not about pay, Government is about service,” he said.

He said that the Government did not negotiate with MPs on salary increase insisting that current MPs earn less as compared to their counterparts in the Tenth Parliament.

“We didn’t negotiate with MPs and told them the Sh850 they wanted was impossible. Today, Member of Parliament earns much less than those who were in the Tenth Parliament,” he said. Ruto also defended the VAT Bill even as he insisted that the Government is keen to enhance food production across the country.

He said that the Government has put aside Sh15 billion to bring an extra one million acres of land under irrigation.

“What is going to happen is that we shall reduce the price of Unga from about Sh120 now to between Sh60 and Sh65,” Ruto explained.

He said that the Government would be able to raise about Sh30 and Sh40 billion from a wide range that was previously exempted from tax.

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