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CORD remarks at teachers’ solidarity rally

KENYA
By Raila Odinga | September 23rd 2015

Fellow Kenyans.

Our teachers have demanded a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

Our courts have agreed they deserve it, they must have it.

President Uhuru Kenyatta says, Can’t pay, Won’t Pay.

 Our children find themselves at the right place, at the wrong time; at home in September and not in school as is tradition.

The times demand that we speak candidly and decisively, truthfully and frankly, honestly and boldly.

President Kenyatta is lying to Kenyans about our wage bill. The President is dishonest in his refusal to pay teachers.

In 2012/ 2013, the last year of Grand Coalition Government, our tax revenue was Ksh.807 billion.

Last Financial Year, it was Ksh.1.16 trillion.

It is projected at Ksh.1.25 trillion this financial year.

This year’s revenue budget is Ksh.443 billion more than that of the last Grand Coalition Government revenue.

The Government is telling us that out of a revenue increase of Ksh.443 (55 per cent) we cannot afford Ksh.17 billion for teachers? 

We disagree.

The published budget for Government wage bill for the current financial year is Ksh.329 billion, out of a recurrent budget of Ksh.987 billion and total budget of Ksh.1.88 trillion.

This works out to 33 percent of recurrent, 17.5 percent of total budget and 26 percent of revenue.

 Even if we add county government and parastatals, the figures tell a different story from the one the Jubilee Government is peddling.

 The total employment and public wage for calendar year 2014 as published by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics are as follows:

National Government: Ksh. 85 billion.

Teachers                      Ksh. 145 billion

Counties                      Ksh. 62 billion

Parastatals                   Ksh. 77 billion

Total                           Ksh. 370 billion

 

The total is only 32 percent of last year’s revenue.

Where did President Uhuru get Ksh.568 billion wage bill that he gave in his statement?

Where did he get the 52 percent of revenue?

If the Government paid Ksh.568 billion wage bill last year and has budgeted Ksh.329 billion for salaries this year, is the Government wage bill falling?

We maintain that the published figures are the true figures, not those in political statements.

Our public wage bill is only 32 percent of revenue.

This is below the global average of 35 percent for middle income countries that the President cited.

The issue of wage bill sustainability or damaging the economy is a red herring, a plain lie.

This year’s total allocation for County Governments is Ksh.240 billion.

From this, the County Governments will pay salaries of 100,000 people as well as finance their recurrent and development expenditures.

And we are all seeing what the counties are doing with their money.

This year, the National Government’s development budget alone is Ksh.534 billion.

This is more than double the County Governments allocation.  What is the National Government doing with all this money? 

A recent World Bank report on Public Expenditure Review concluded that our infrastructure investment requirement “could be reduced by half through efficiency gains.”

This is to say that our infrastructure spending is inflated by 100 percent through corruption and wasteful projects.

This year National Government’s development budget for infrastructure is Ksh.350 billion.

According to the World Bank assessment, half of this (Ksh125 billion) will go to corruption and waste We have the money.  Jubilee is protecting corruption and wastage.

The Jubilee Government has decided to live beyond its means. Kenya has at least 700,000 public service workers against a population of 40 million people.

This translates into about 1 public worker for every 57 persons in Kenya compared to 1 public worker for every 300 persons in the USA.

But that size remains suspect.

Devolution transferred a huge number of the National Government workforce to the counties.

This is why the wage bill in the counties increased from Ksh.21.6 billion in 2012/13 to Ksh.71.2 billion in 2013/14, an increase by Ksh.49.7 billion.  The wage bill of the National Government ought to have decreased by a similar margin.

Instead, the wage bill of the National Government increased by 25 per cent, from Ksh.274.4 billion to Ksh.281.2 billion. This implies that National Government either increased pay significantly for its staff or embarked on more hiring. Kenyans need answers.

We are aware the National Government is retaining about 60,000 workers who have been made redundant by devolution. Kenyans deserve answers.

The Constitution requires the Provincial Administration to be restructured and re-aligned with the devolution. To date, the system remains largely in place, with only change of names of the positions. It is ballooning the wage bill.

The teachers, like most Kenyans have lost patience with a small clique that says the economy is booming, that the times are great, the salaries are good and the government is doing a great job. We must stand with the teachers against a government thriving on lies and theft.

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