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Employees in Agriculture and Manufacturing record lowest wages – Report

ICEA Lion’s Head of Management and Research Judd Murigi said the results reflect some of the challenges that the agriculture sector has faced over time/Julie Owino

NAIROBI, Kenya, July 10 – Employees under agriculture and manufacturing are the least paid despite the sectors being top contributors to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

According to the Salient Employment Trends in Kenya 2014-2018 report by ICEA Lion Asset Management, workers in agriculture are poorly paid with the average annual earnings per employee being below Sh500,000 which is slightly below average.

ICEA Lion’s Head of Management and Research Judd Murigi said the results reflect some of the challenges that the agriculture sector has faced over time but go unaddressed.

“The government needs to do a couple of things such as engage in public-private sector partnerships and address the structural challenges such as lack of value addition, the high cost of energy, lack of access to markets and up-scaling workforce in the sector,” said Murigi.

Under manufacturing, the report shows that they also receive lower wages despite the government taking loans from different lenders to boost the sector.

Murigi said that some of the policies are not set right in the sector that in turn affect employees who are struggling to make ends meet.

“We need to have the right tax incentives and improve infrastructure access to markets; these are some of the issues that need to be addressed,” he said.

Agriculture accounts for close to a third of Kenya’s annual economic output, contributing 26 percent of the Gross Domestic Product and another 27 percent of GDP indirectly through linkages with other sectors.

In 2018, the agriculture sector grew by 6.6 percent, the highest in five years according to data from the Economic Survey 2019.

The sector employs more than 40 percent of the total population and more than 70 percent of Kenya’s rural people.

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On the other end, the Manufacturing sector grew at a faster rate of 4.2 percent in 2018, compared with 0.5 percent in 2017.

Other sectors that face low wages include Education, trade, Public Administration and health where the sectors wage increments have lagged average inflation over the last five years.

The average annual increase in public sector wages since 2013 stood at 5.5% between 2013 and 2018.

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