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Economy

KDF gets Sh2.5 billion for pay raise

 Kenya Army
Members of a Kenya Army unit mount a guard of honour at Narok Stadium on Monday in preparation for the June 1 Madaraka Day celebrations. PHOTO | GEORGE SAYAGIE | NMG 

Kenya’s military staff will cement their position as the best paid in the region after Treasury released Sh2.5 billion for their pay increase.

The Treasury in the revised budget has increased the allocation to the Defence ministry by Sh2.5 billion to cater to the salary review "on account of phase 1 and 2 of job evaluation”. The supplementary budget for the year to June is currently under review by MPs.

Expenditure on salaries and operations of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) stands higher than its regional counterparts despite having the smallest personnel count, a global report shows.

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) said the KDF spent Sh97.2 billion ($963.5 million) in 2017, up from $933 million a year earlier. Kenya had 24,150 military personnel in the year reviewed by Sipri.

At $963.5 million, Nairobi’s military spending is more than the combined army budgets for neighbouring Ethiopia ($488 million or Sh49 billion) and Uganda ($445 million).

Despite their lower staff costs, Ethiopia commands a bigger force of 185,500 personnel or seven times more than Kenya’s while Uganda’s army size is nearly twice the size (45,000 personnel).

This signals higher remuneration for the Kenyan military.

“Figures for these countries are for current spending only (excluding capital spending) and do not include spending on paramilitary forces,” Sipri said in the report released Friday.

Defence is the only segment whose employment detail including staff pay is not provided by the government’s Economic Survey.

The pay review comes as Kenya says it will spend Sh23.7 billion on weapons acquisition for the financial year starting July in a regional arms race that has seen neighbouring Uganda increase its arsenal budget.

Budget estimates show that Kenya’s military spending will rise from the current year’s Sh109 billion to Sh121 billion in the financial year that starts on July 1.

Of the Sh121 billion spending proposed for the KDF, Sh23.7 billion will go into buying military hardware in what the Treasury calls “defence modernisation”.

This is a sharp increase from the Sh17.5 billion spent on the same in the current financial year.

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