The Treasury has allocated Sh26.5 billion for civil servants’ salaries and house allowances, making them the biggest winners in next year’s budget.
This means that the over 600,000 public servants will start enjoying higher perks from July 2017 following the unveiling of a new job structure in October by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission’s (SRC).
Official documents submitted to Parliament show that the Treasury has set aside Sh20 billion for the purposes of paying the adjusted Civil Service basic salaries in the 2017/18 financial year and Sh6.5 billion to implement the third phase of the Civil Service house allowance scheme.
Treasury principal secretary Kamau Thugge has submitted information to Parliament showing that the government has allocated billions to meet the cost of civil servants’ wage and house allowance increases.
“Mr chairman, out of the total Sh63.4 billion under the recurrent vote of the National Treasury… Sh20 billion and Sh6.5 billion is being held to fund targeted government interventions that includes Civil Service Basic Salary Adjustment and Civil Service Phase III House Allowances respectively,” Dr Thugge said in a brief to the National Assembly’s Finance, Planning and Trade Committee, which scrutinised the Treasury’s budgetary proposals.
The review comes as the State struggles to contain a ballooning wage bill that consumes up to 11 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) or 52 per cent of the domestic revenues.
Civil Service remuneration and benefits have also become a big threat to sustainable public expenditure and left little room for development spending.
The Union of Kenya Civil Servants has demanded a pay increase for its members following the recent signing of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) that resulted in improved salaries for the tutors.
The new remuneration structure will see junior civil servants earn more as the SRC moves to bridge the huge wage disparities in the public sector.
The new structure seeks to peg salaries on performance while harmonising the salaries of personnel across the public service.
“The new structure enhances value for low-cadre jobs while maintaining value for top-tier jobs,” SRC chairperson Sarah Serem said when she handed over the structure to Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua.
Under the current salary structure, the lowest paid civil servants in Job Group A earn a minimum of Sh8,910 per month in basic salary while the highest paid in Job Group T takes home a maximum of Sh302,960.
The new structure lumps together public servants with the same skills, qualifications and experience in the same job group regardless of whether they are employees of the national government, county governments, State corporations or constitutional and independent commissions.
The job evaluation by the SRC covered 36,000 public officials and was conducted over 17 months.
Under the new structure, senior public servants, including principal secretaries, ambassadors, commissioners, deputy commissioners, chief officers, directors, senior deputy directors, principals, chief executive officers and deputy chief executives of constitutional and independent offices fall under Job Group E.
Others in Job Group E are chief executives, executive directors, managing directors, directors-general, managing trustees, general managers, commission secretaries, commissioners-general in State corporations and chairpersons of the county public service boards.
Senior and middle-level managers as well as high-level specialists, including section heads and heads of departments in the civil service, fall in Job Group D.
Also in Job Group D are senior managers and assistant directors in constitutional and independent commissions, general managers in charge of human resource, supply chain, and corporate services, medical specialists and other senior and middle-level specialists in State corporations.
Supervisors and highly skilled officers have been clustered in Job Group C while skilled and low-level supervisory staff are in Job Group B.
The lowest job group – A – comprises very low skilled basic workers such as cooks, clerks, security guards, messengers, copy readers, drivers, telephone operators and receptionists.
The civil servants are, however, set to enjoy higher allowances under the new structure following the allocation of Sh6.5 billion for the implementation of Phase III of the scheme.
Civil servants in job groups A, B, and C, who live and work in Nairobi, are currently entitled to Sh3,750 in house allowance while the highest paid public servant in Job Group T earns Sh80,000 as house allowance, according to a review done in December 2014.
Those living in major towns like Mombasa, Kisumu, Malindi, Kilifi, Kwale, Lamu and Naivasha earn Sh3,125 in job groups A, B and C while the highest paid worker living in the same locality pockets Sh56,000 per month as house allowance.
In 2014, the SRC scrapped 33 allowances that public servants were entitled to as part of efforts to contain the wage bill. The move is estimated to have saved the taxpayer Sh125 billion annually.