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Economy

City Hall loses 462 staff in five months

City Hall in Nairobi
City Hall in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

More than 400 workers have exited City Hall through natural attrition in five months as the county government struggles with a bloated workforce costing it a monthly wage of Sh1.1 billion.

City Hall had 12,496 staff as at last July but this has dropped to 12,034 as per the latest count at the end of January — a reduction of 462.

Acting county secretary and head of public service management Pauline Kahiga told the county assembly Public Accounts Committee on Thursday that City Hall is overstaffed with the unskilled low-cadre workforce at the expense of skilled staff.

“I can confirm that as at January 31, the county government had 12,034 employees who are on a wage bill of Sh1.1 billion,” she said.

County Public Service Board chief executive Meshack Guto said City Hall also faces a crisis of ageing staff whose performance is wanting.

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“The county has an ageing staff; some of them are sick although it may not sound good to say, so that is the position,” he said, adding that the board had employed 1,200 more labourers, cleaners and inspectorate officers as at August 8, 2018, since it came into being five years ago.

Previous audit reports by PricewaterhouseCoopers and EY warned of a bloated workforce but City Hall is still hiring.

Ms Kahiga told the committee that City Hall had resolved to allow reduction of the employees through natural attrition.

The committee accused the executive of misleading the board to advertise for employment vacancies in the lower cadre instead of hiring technical and other professional staff.

“We agree that the county is bottom-heavy but it is meant to suit the structure and needs of the current government,” said Ms Kahiga.

Makongeni Ward MCA Peter Imwatok demanded the tabling of authentic evidence on the number of City Hall employees and the total wage bill as well as clarification of the system used in salaries processing.

However, head of the county payroll Daniel Kibet could not confirm whether the payroll was digital or manual but only said the county had an automated back-up system.

“We are using an automated system but it is backed up. It is an open and closed system,” he said. The watchdog committee chaired by Mabatini Ward MCA Wilfred Odalo is scrutinising Auditor-General Edward Ouko’s 2016/17 report for the Nairobi City County.

Last week, appearing before parliamentary Public Accounts Committee, City Hall could not account for more than Sh156 million for the free maternity programme meant for Pumwani Maternity Hospital since the start of devolution in 2013.

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