Economy

Pay for presidency staff up four times to Sh8.6bn

Budget1902a

Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakango. FILE PHOTO | NMG

john-mutua-img

Summary

  • The report shows that Kenya diverted funds from a Sh80.78 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to pay salaries and allowances in June.
  • The State also used Sh18.16 billion from a Sh70.17 billion loan meant for the state departments for housing, urban development, and ICT & Innovation to pay salaries and allowances.
  • Data shows that allowances and salaries for staff in the Office of President and that of his deputy have been growing quarter on quarter and hit Sh5.43 billion in March from Sh355.8 million a year earlier.

The Office of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto spent Sh8.64 billion or four times more on staff salaries and allowances in the year to June, hurting efforts to free more public funds for development projects.

Data by the Controller of Budget office shows that the pay for staff working in the country’s two most powerful political offices grew 282 percent from Sh2.26 billion a year earlier.

The Controller of Budget did not disclose what drove the increase, coming on the back of growing calls to cut down spending for non-core items that continue to squeeze funds for development projects.

Margaret Nyakango, the Controller of Budget, said the increase in the spending on salaries and allowances in the two offices and other State agencies forced the government to divert loans meant for development projects to compensate employees amid cash-flow struggles by the Exchequer.

“There were instances where revenue from loans and grants meant to fund development activities was applied to the recurrent budget,” Ms Nyakango says in the latest report.

The report shows that Kenya diverted funds from a Sh80.78 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to pay salaries and allowances in June.

The State also used Sh18.16 billion from a Sh70.17 billion loan meant for the state departments for housing, urban development, and ICT & Innovation to pay salaries and allowances.

Data shows that allowances and salaries for staff in the Office of President and that of his deputy have been growing quarter on quarter and hit Sh5.43 billion in March from Sh355.8 million a year earlier.

Other offices that posted a significant increase in salaries and allowances are the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and the ministries of Interior and Health.

Salaries and allowances for the TSC rose by Sh18 billion to Sh273.4 billion, while those for the Ministry of Interior grew by Sh4.5 billion to Sh92.18 billion.

Increased spending on pay for staff in the office of President Kenyatta and his deputy pushed the overall payout to public servants by Sh43.5 billion to Sh489.06 billion in the year ended June, piling pressure on the wage bill that continues to squeeze funds for development.

The increase in spending on salaries and allowances for the two offices comes at a time the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) has announced measures to tame Kenya’s ballooning public wage bill.

A draft policy on allowances shows that the SRC plans to abolish facilitative allowances for all new employees joining the civil service and cap allowances at not more than 40 percent of the monthly gross pay.

Currently, there are over 247 remunerative and facilitative allowances, up from 31 in 1999, payable within the public sector and they have the effect of doubling a worker’s monthly pay.

Facilitative allowances are paid to meet expenses incurred by officials in the course of duty such as daily subsistence allowance or per diem.

Others such as medical allowance, entertainment allowance, and utility allowance to cater to water, electricity, airtime, and security bills are already are under the workers’ basic pay, ultimately inflating salaries.

The cut in perks is one of the strategies, alongside a freeze in new hiring and removal of ghost workers, aimed at reducing Kenya’s ballooning public sector wage bill.

The SRC, however, spared the 865,200 workers attached to the government and State corporations from the cuts that are set to reduce the monthly take-homes for new staff.