Karen Nyamu: Increase minimum wage to Sh22,680

Nominated Senator Karen Nyamu. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

Nominated Senator Karen Nyamu wants the government to increase the minimum wage by 50 per cent in the face of "current harsh economic conditions and the deteriorating rate of inflation" which have led to a high cost of living.

In a notice of motion, to be tabled before parliament on Wednesday, March 22, Ms Nyamu indicated that she was pushing for an increase of the minimum wage to Sh22,680 up from Sh15,120. The revision up to the current rate was done in 2022 after it had been determined at Sh13,500 two years before.

It was a 12 per cent upwards revision, that then President Uhuru Kenyatta announced, to cushion Kenyans against the rising cost of living as the country struggled to recover from the ravages of Covid-19.

Ms Nyamu says that labour is one of the most important factors of production which is very critical to the growth and development of any economy. She adds that the government collects huge revenues from employees in form of taxes and other statutory deductions. A regime seeking to further widen its tax base could reap more if employees earned more.

"Better payments for workers means more productivity by the same worker translating into increased return by the employer as well as more revenues by the government," Ms Nyamu says.

She observes that the current minimum wage for workers in Kenya is far too low for survival in the current harsh economic conditions and the deteriorating rate of inflation.

She wants the Cabinet Secretary for Labour, in consultation with the wage council and in accordance with the Labour Institution Act, 2007 to publish a new order to increase the minimum wage by 50 per cent.