KVDA eyes layoffs to tame wage bill

Kerio Valley Development Authority MD, David Kimosop, addresses his employees in Eldoret town on on February 5, 2018. He asked them to opt for voluntary early retirement. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NMG
Kerio Valley Development Authority MD, David Kimosop, addresses his employees in Eldoret town on on February 5, 2018. He asked them to opt for voluntary early retirement. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NMG 

More than 300 employees of the Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) will lose their jobs as the parastatal moves to slash its workforce due to financial constraints.

The agency’s managing director, David Kimosop, on Monday said it is eyeing a leaner but more effective workforce as a long-term strategy to contain its ballooning wage bill.

“Over the years the Authority has continued to experience financial difficulties due to inadequate funding. With the underfunding of the recurrent vote, payment of salaries and other statuary deductions have been a problem. The number of staff is relatively higher than the projects KVDA can support,” he said during a meeting with staff at the Authority’s headquarters in Eldoret town.

Mr Kimosop said the six-month exercise is targeting workers in non-core departments.

“We will evaluate the entire exercise now that funds are available and retain workers who are key to our operations,” said Mr Kimosop.

'No re-hire'

He dismissed claims by some of the workers that there was a scheme to re-hire some of them in some projects, especially the multi-billion power plans.

“The two hydro-projects will require over 2000 workers who will be hired by the contracted firm and not KVDA,” said MD while challenging dissented workers to move to court.

Mr Kimosop disclosed that the staff will get a golden hand shake of Sh360,000 and transport remittance of Sh40,000.

In 2014, the MD noted, KVDA had engaged human resource consultant Parker Randall East Africa to review the parastatal's staff structures.

“The HR consultant’s report recommended a leaner establishment of 300 employees and offloading of excess staff,” he added.

The MD said an earlier attempt to implement the staff layoffs hit a snag in 2010 despite Treasury allocating Sh59 million towards the process.

“Although other five authorities implemented this proposal, KVDA did not,” said Mr Kimosop.

Political wrangles

Last month, county governors from the North Rift Economic Block (Noreb) had accused KVDA of being a stumbling block to development initiatives by the devolved units.

Led by Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok, Prof John Lonyangapuo (West Pokot), Stanley Kiptis (Baringo), Alex Tolgos (Elgeyo Marakwet), Stephen Sang (Nandi) and Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu), they said the agency's functions should instead be transferred to Noreb - arguing that it has failed to initiate meaningful projects despite receiving immense funding from the government.

“The Authority should move out of this region after operating for many years with little to show in terms of its development record,” said Prof Lonyangapuo during a peace meeting at Kainuk on the border of West Pokot and Turkana counties.

However, KVDA dismissed the claims arguing that KVDA was mandated to perform national functions and not to duplicate tasks of County Government.

“The governors should concentrate in delivering quality services to the electorates instead of fighting agencies of the national government, disrupting them from performing their duties,” said Mr Kimosop on phone.

“We have been in the forefront in implementing irrigation projects in most of these counties and promoting peace among warring communities to empower them improve their socio-economic status,” added Mr Kimosop.

The KVDA boss on Monday said that the parastatal had grown its revenues from an estimated Sh100 million in 2012 to Sh200 million this year.

“This has enabled us to clear most outstanding historical debts and arrears and implement unionasable staff salary increment of 14 per cent. However, we have not been able to pay market pay packages for our employees...over the years we lost several skilled staff and are unable to recruit new external technical staff due to our financial position,” added Mr Kimosop.