, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 10 – As he said on Friday, President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to launch what has been dubbed a National Dialogue on the Public Wage Bill on Monday.
The forum to be held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre is aimed at beginning talks between the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and public servants on the burgeoning public wage bill.
“With Sarah Serem and parliamentarians participating, the Judiciary participating, civil servants participating, teachers participating, we will all come up with the recognition that we need to deal with this monster if we’re to develop this nation,” President Kenyatta said.
A communiqué from the Serem led SRC explained that over 500 people will take part in Monday’s forum and pave the way for a much wider conversation.
“At least 500 participants drawn from different sectors of the economy will discuss Kenya’s burgeoning public wage bill. The national dialogue will be followed by county debates where Kenyans will be encouraged to contribute and suggest strategies on containing the public wage bill,” it stated.
All of which will culminate into a national conference and hopefully a way forward on the public wage bill.
“The conference in late April or early May will come up with resolutions which will inform the development of the national policy on public wage bill,” the SRC stated.
Monday’s forum comes just days after President Kenyatta announced that he and his Deputy President William Ruto would be taking a 20 percent pay cut with their Cabinet and Principal Secretaries taking a 10 percent salary cut.
It remains to be seen if the SRC will follow up the cuts in the pay of the Executive with similar measures in the other arms of Government.
Coalition for Reforms and Democracy leader Raila Odinga was however of the opinion that such a move would be ill-informed given the high cost of living, instead urging the Jubilee government to focus on eliminating corruption and repurposing those funds toward development.
Ruto however maintained that a reduction in the public wage bill was no longer an option but a necessity.
“It is said madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So we must begin a national conversation,” he said.
Currently over half of the government’s collected revenue, more than Sh500 billion, goes toward paying salaries forcing the government to borrow to finance its development agenda.