A new salary structure for civil servants comes into force in July.
The Salaries and Remunerations Commission (SRC) says it has finalised plans for job evaluations that will determine salary scales and address pay disparities that have been the source of tension among job groups and fuelled the loss of skilled labour to the private sector.
“The current disparities are historical and may not be addressed instantly but we are going to perform this task independently without paying attention to inter-sector politics,” the Salaries Commission chairman Sarah Serem said last week at the public budget hearings.
The new terms for the country’s 220,000 civil servants will be tied to service delivery. Huge disparities characterise salaries among civil servants, including those serving in the same rank.
Among the permanent secretaries, for instance, career civil servants who have risen through the ranks earn slightly more than Sh200,000 compared to some counterparts headhunted from the private sector who earn more than Sh1 million.
Among the six highly paid PSs, Treasury’s Joseph Kinyua and his Transport counterpart Cyrus Njiru take home a Sh1 million each monthly compared to the Sh350,000 paid to Titus Ndambuki (Public Service), Michael Kamau (Roads) and Francis Kimemia (Internal Security).
Planning PS Edward Sambili is earning a basic salary of Sh291,000 according to the Budgetary Estimates.
Similar disparities exist among parastatal chiefs with those poached from the private sector earning more than twice the statutory pay scales.
“Determining market value for each job in the Civil Service is an important starting point in standardising and making sectors’ pay equitable,” said Mr John Mutua, an officer in charge of budget information programme at Institute of Economic Affairs.
Mrs Serem said the market survey would cover the whole of East Africa, reviewing salary scales in both public and private sectors to determine fair compensation for public servants.
“We intend to come up with competitive but sustainable salary scheme for all the public employees,” Mrs Serem said last week as the public administration and international relations sector presented its 2012/13 spending plan for public review. Other members of the salaries team are Joseph Kinyua (Treasury PS), Titus Ndambuki (Public Service PS) and Wanjuki Muchemi (Solicitor General).
Mr Daniel Ogutu, Sellestine Kiuluku, Serah Kinyua, Rtd Brig Samuel Ndururi, Isaiah Kubai, Jacqueline Mugo (FKE), Ann Elizabeth Owuor, Peter Oloo Aringo and Jason Namasake are also members.
“They will be judged by recommendations that eventually come up but as a union, we have no faith to make presentations before them”, said Mr Tom Odege, secretary-general of the Union of Kenya Civil Servants.
East African Community is now treated as a single labour market after the launch of common market protocol in July 2010.
“Even after job evaluation and market surveys, the actual compensation to government employees will still be influenced by the Treasury’s wage bill ceiling and the minimum wage threshold,” said Mr Mutua. The reviewed salaries will also guide the 47 counties once they establish commissions to recruit staff.
At last week’s public hearings, ministry officials said most workers serving them at county levels would be handed over to county governments to ensure the institutions are running before the new officials are hired.
“Our task now is to determine who among our staff will be deployed to counties depending on functions and demand,” said public service PS Titus Ndambuki.
Under the three-year devolution calendar, the government is expected to start by devolving functions followed by staff and then finances.
The Treasury and the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) officials appeared to be reading from different script on fiscal decentralisation during the budget meeting.
While Treasury maintained the new Integrated Financial Management Information System will make it possible for counties to request allocations before coming up with individual treasuries, CRA said the reverse was practical.
CRA chairman Micah Cheserem said there was no way Treasury could prepare budgets for counties until the elections date was known.