Accountants back SRC move to slash public wage bill

ICPAK vice chairman Julius Mwatu in Mombasa on July 27, 2017. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG
ICPAK vice chairman Julius Mwatu in Mombasa on July 27, 2017. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG 

The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) has lauded the Salaries Remuneration Commission’s (SRC) decision to review downwards hefty pay and perks to top State officers.

The accountants' body says the move by the Sarah Serem-led commission is a step in the right direction as it addresses Kenya's spiralling public wage bill.

“As the government implements the SRC's new structure, we must resist any attempt by State officers to water down the new salary structure, ICPAK national chairman Julius Mwatu said, adding it is time to disabuse the public of the notion that public office is a route to ill-gotten wealth.

He was speaking at the Annual Management Accounting Conference in Mombasa Thursday.

Mr Mwatu noted that Kenya's public wage bill ate up approximately 52 per cent of recurrent expenditure against the global best practise level of 35 per cent.

“The Country is almost operating at an inverse condition where recurrent expenditure account for 70 per cent of the national budget against 30 per cent development expenditure,” he said.

Qualified accountants

Mr Mwatu says retention of qualified accountants in the civil service remains a big challenge as their high turnover hampers the State's service delivery.

However, he said the government has tried to address the anomaly by introducing scheme of service and non-practising allowances for professional cadres such as doctors, dentists and advocates who are engaged on a full time basis as employees of government and its agencies.

The decision to introduce the allowance, he added, was informed by the desire to engage professionals in service delivery.

“However, it is unfortunate that professional accountants do not receive this allowance yet they forego practising rights on account of full time engagement in public service,” he lamented.

“We are of the view that compensation for the non-practising should be a global allowance payable to all professionals,” he added.