SRC declines Sh2.8 billion pay raise requests in first quarter

Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) Chairperson Lyn Cherop Mengich at a past media brief. FILE PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) declined a Sh2.82 billion worth of requests for increased pay by civil servants in the three months that ended March as the country battles a wage bill crisis.

SRC disclosed that it received 65 requests from the public sector ranging from collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) and allowances and instead approved requests worth Sh411.4 million.

The disclosures reveal the continued agitation for higher pay by civil servants in a bid to ease the impact of the high cost of living, a push that has, however, led to confrontations between the SRC and worker’s unions.

“SRC approved requests worth Sh411.4 million, against the 65 requests from public institutions amounting to Sh3.24 billion,” the agency said in its Wage Bill Bulletin for the January- March quarter.

Workers’ lobbies notably the Central Organisation of Trade Union have publicly lashed out at the SRC, accusing the agency of frustrating the efforts of Kenyan workers to get better pay.

The agency said 80 percent of the requests were for allowances and benefits, followed by nine percent for CBAs, eight for salary increments and requests for productivity and performance (three percent).

The total cost of the requests in the first nine months of the current financial year is Sh5.95 billion compared to Sh18.83 billion made in a similar period in the year that ended June 2022.

The data shows that the requests that SRC has approved since last July increased the wage bill by Sh2.59 billion, compared to Sh1.47 billion in a similar period in the financial year that ended June 2022.

The approvals have piled pressure on the Exchequer, which is already grappling with huge debt servicing obligations that are gobbling tax collections.

The 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.

A majority of Kenya’s public service labour force of at least 963, 000 workers has been pushing for higher pay in a bid to ease the impact of the runaway inflation that stood at 7.9 percent last month.

The William Ruto administration slashed the total spending for the current financial year ending June by Sh14 billion in its first mini-budget, including dropping many of the infrastructure projects started by the previous administration.

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.

KRA collected Sh1.44 trillion in ordinary revenue in the nine months to March, against a target of Sh1.55 trillion.

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