State workers on less than Sh20,000 halve in five years

An informal settlement in Nairobi. The cost of housing is prohibitive in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG
An informal settlement in Nairobi. The cost of housing is prohibitive in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

National government workers earning less than Sh20,000 per month more than halved over the past five years, after some of the bottom earners were devolved to county governments.

Latest official data released on Friday shows that 31,494 civil servants on the national government payroll earned less than Sh20,000 monthly in 2016, a 55 per cent drop from 71,406 workers in 2012, a year before county governments were created.

The drop came amid staff transfers to counties while the national government has over the years raised pay of the bottom earners. In 2013, county governments assumed several functions that were held by the central government, including healthcare and agriculture.

This saw central government workers reduce by 42,000 to 179, 000 in 2013 while that of counties increased to 94, 700 from 37, 700.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data shows that the number of those earning less than Sh20, 000 in central government has shrunk from 71,406 in 2012, to 34,140 in 2013 and 31,494 in 2016, the latest available data.

The KNBS data indicates that only 3,955 national government employees earned more than Sh100,000 per month in 2016, down from 4,075 top earners five years ago.

Overall, some 2.5 million Kenyans held formal sector jobs in 2016, out of which only 74,293 or 2.9 per cent had pay cheques of more than Sh100,000 monthly.

Male workers comprised 63 per cent (47,139) of the 74,293 formal sector employees earning more than Sh100,000 with women accounting for the remaining 27,154.

In 2015, the number of Kenyans earning more than Sh100,000 a month stood at 71,798, after some 3,122 employees moved up the pay ladder to join the special class.

The KNBS data shows that slightly over a quarter of the workforce earns less than Sh25,000 a month, making settlement of household bills a tricky balancing act.