EDITORIAL: Adopt austerity measures

Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi
Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi (right) with county officials during a development meeting. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Reports that the Laikipia County government plans to cut its annual payroll costs by Sh1.143 billion by laying off 172 employees did not come as a surprise to those that have been keenly monitoring our devolved units.

If one peruses the annual audit reports released by the 47 counties, you notice that the bulk of spending goes to recurrent expenditure that caters for items like salaries, allowances, meetings and trips while critical development sectors like infrastructure and health get the short end of the stick.

As the Laikipia County government aptly pointed out, the planned retrenchment followed a staff audit that weeded out ghost workers, idlers and some who were found to have no academic papers despite being on the payroll. Cutting the bloated payroll will increase financial resources for development by directing the saved funds to road rehabilitation and equipping hospitals.

We opine that that is the way to go. It makes no sense for county governments to spend a large portion of their budgets on taking care of the needs of a few while ignoring the masses that the money is supposed to cater for.

We expect the Laikipia County move to be replicated elsewhere. The era of having that county administrations that are top heavy should be a thing of the past.