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Civil servants to get pay increment in 100 days, says CS Jumwa

 Public Service, Affirmative Action and Gender Cabinet Secretary Aisha Jumwa. [PCS]

The government has announced a plan to increase salaries for civil servants in the next 100 days.

Public Service, Affirmative Action and Gender Cabinet Secretary Aisha Jumwa said a technical committee will be formed to review and make recommendations of the appropriate pay rise.

"Civil servants are a demoralised lot and we don't want to see them suffering. They are unable to cope with the high cost of living occasioned by runaway inflation. As Kenya Kwanza Government, we want to revamp their morale by increasing their salaries as soon as possible," said Ms Jumwa.

"I am a leader and a mother too. I know a majority of the public servants are grappling to pay school fees for their children, pay rent and fend for their families. It's a sad state of affairs but I have come to solve the problem so that they can live a dignified life."

The Cabinet secretary said if public servants are well remunerated, there will be no corruption cases.

There are at least 923,000 public servants in the country whose wage bill stands at more than Sh890 billion annually.

The National Treasury has been struggling to raise funds to cater for the bloated wage bill that consumes more than a half of the budget, hampering completion of development projects.

Her pledge comes at a time the IMF is pushing government for job cuts and a reduction in the wage bill (see story in Financial Standard).

But Jumwa maintained the country's wage bill is manageable and that there is money to cater for the salary increment.

"We have 900,000 people working for 50 million Kenyans. Who says we have a bloated wage bill? The country has enough money to give the public servants a pay rise and carry on with its development agenda," she said after conducting an inspection tour of Nairobi Huduma Centre.

The government last reviewed the minimum wage for civil servants in May 2018 at the rate of five per cent.

The CS said to ensure success of Huduma Kenya Service Delivery Programme, the ministry has extended working hours in 18 Huduma centres. The centres will now open at 7am and close at 7pm.

"We are going to launch the model sub-county Huduma Centre in partnership with the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) in preparation to set up at least 100 Huduma centres across various sub-counties in the next five years," she said.

"We will also launch a new revamped training programme on Huduma Kenya Standards and Customer Service Excellence to equip staff with the required skills to serve customers better."

During the tour, Public Service Principal Secretary Mary Kimonye decried the high number of uncollected identity cards and birth certificates in Huduma centres across the country.

"We have over 33,000 uncollected identity cards and at least 3,000 birth certificates at Nairobi Huduma Centre GPO alone. We are appealing to those who applied for these vital documents to come for them," said Ms Kimonye.

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