Reject SRC advisory to tame the wage bill


Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) Chairperson Lyn Cherop Mengich at a past function on February 16, 2023. PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NMG

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) has largely been seen as a force for good since it was established in 2011 to set and review the remuneration and benefits of public servants.

The commission, one of the independent bodies created under the progressive 2010 Constitution, has in the past especially won public confidence for standing up to greedy Members of Parliament scheming to award themselves fatter pay and perks at the slightest opportunity.

In many of its decisions, the SRC has tended to back austerity in government and sustainability of the public wage bill.

Its latest advisory to the Public Service Commission (PSC) recommending a pay increase for the chief administrative secretaries (CASs) and higher domestic travel allowances for official duties in towns other than Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Nakuru therefore marks a radical departure from the norm.

In addition to raising the monthly salary of a CAS to Sh780,000, the SRC advisory, if implemented, will see the per diems for local travel go up by between 40 percent and 66.7 percent depending on job groups.

The SRC has cited the findings of a professional job evaluation it undertook as having informed its proposals.

But it seems to have ignored the implications for the public wage bill and the unnecessary additional burden the taxpayers would be forced to carry if the new pay structure were to be implemented.

A bloated public wage bill will worsen the cash crunch that last November prompted President William Ruto to order a Sh300 billion budget cut and must be rejected.