The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) approved pay rise requests worth Sh2.18 billion in the six months to December amid a government push to contain the public wage bill.
The SRC says it received 50 requests from public service institutions on remuneration and benefits estimated to cost Sh2.29 billion but advised the national and county governments to approve requests worth Sh2.18 billion.
Bonus requests topped the list at Sh1.47 billion, followed by those to review allowances and benefits at Sh647.5 million and Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) at Sh325 million.
The reviews come at a time when an estimated 954,900 civil servants are pushing for salary reviews to compensate for the tough economic times that pushed the country’s inflation to 9.2 percent in February.
“Kenya’s nominal wage bill has been increasing every year. The expenditure on wage bill (Personnel Emoluments - PE) as a proportion of the total expenditure in most counties, has remained above the Public Finance Management (PFM) Regulations, 2015, the recommended ratio of 30 per cent over the recent years,” said SRC in its Wage Bill Bulletin.
The Sh2.18 billion requests approved by the SRC include bonus/rewards worth Sh1.43 billion, salary reviews worth Sh271.5 million, allowances and CBAs worth Sh227 million and Sh248.2 million respectively.
This is an increase from the Sh1.47 billion worth of requests that SRC approved in a similar period last year when it received requests worth Sh18.7 billion.
Treasury has been struggling to tame the bloated public wage bill that now consumes over half of the total revenue, impeding spending on development projects.
President William Ruto’s administration slashed the total spending for the current financial year ending June by Sh14 billion in its first mini-budget, including dropping many of his predecessor’s infrastructure projects.
The rationalisation in the supplementary budget for 2022/2023 has mostly been on account of the development budget which was reduced by Sh106.2 billion and the recurrent budget which increased by Sh92.9 billion compared to the original approved budget.
The government is currently hard-pressed for resources to finance its essential projects in the wake of harsh economic times that have impacted revenue collection performance.
A harsh economy has impacted key sectors meaning that the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has struggled to net sufficient collections.
Total revenue collection for the first half of 2022/2023 was Sh51.8 billion against the target of Sh1.15 trillion with ordinary revenue collection s contributing 80 percent of the revenue shortfall.
The fiscal deficit for the current financial year has been revised downward from 6.2 percent of the GDP to 5.7 percent reflecting a slight dip in expected debt accumulation.