“The current wage bill situation is a thorn on the economy. It puts the economy in a dire situation. The demand for higher wages are putting a strain on the country’s resources,” those were the words of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission Chairperson Sarah Serem at Windsor Golf Club Nairobi on Friday. In the recent State of the nation address, President Uhuru Kenyatta spoke about the escalating country’s wage bill which now stands at 50% as one of the impediments to development. This is something that that SRC has cited has one of its growing concerns.
Serem added that the commission is committed to ensuring that the salary review is conducted so as to spur economic development. She reiterated that the 627 billion that the government spends on salaries is way above the recommended mark. She said that this is 50% but in recommended situations, Governments ought to spend 35% and below. However, the commission allayed any fears that the ongoing salary review may make state officers to be poorly remunerated. Ironically, according to Serem, Kenyan state workers are among the best remunerated in the continent. They can only be topped by South Africa, Tunisia and Nigeria.Public ParticipationThe salary review exercise is set to take one month and may involve the input of the public. “We will involve the public participation through the media and also, going to the counties,” said Serem. Despite the government decrying the problem, Serem expressed confidence that there has been an improvement because the wage has reduced from 52% to 50% over the past 4 years.