, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 20 – The government has embarked on a review of regions previously categorised as hardship areas to ensure that public servants working there are adequately compensated.
Public Service Minister Dalmas Otieno said on Wednesday that the survey to determine areas to benefit from hardship allowance would also ascertain justification for classifying such areas as ‘tough’ zones.
He however said that teachers would not be affected by the survey as they will continue to draw a hardship allowance of 30 percent of their basic salaries.
“The government has reached an agreement with teachers that they will continue to get their hardship allowances under the collective bargaining agreement of 1997,” said the Minister. “They will continue with it until the agreement ends in 2013.”
He pointed out that other civil servants will draw hardship allowances at new rates of Sh5,000 and Sh10,000 with effect from July this year.
“All the other civil servants are going to be paid their allowances according to the new policy beginning July 1. This new policy will include Sh5,000 for civil servants working in areas termed as moderate hardship areas.”
A new policy on hardship areas affecting all public servants including teachers was announced in October last year. It introduced harmonised rates of hardship allowance and also re-caregorised or targeted some areas for de-gazettement on the basis of various factors that were used to determine the level of hardship in the regions during the survey.
Civil servants working in 25 divisions formerly classified as hardship areas will no longer earn hardship allowances, following degazettement of their special status. Also affected are more than 90,000 teachers, who earned higher allowances compared to other civil servants, working in the same areas.
The rest of civil servants will, however, be paid a uniform hardship allowance following the Government’s decision to harmonise hardship allowances.
It had been announced that more than 60 divisions had been designated as moderate while 17 were classified as extreme hardship areas.
Civil servants posted to the said areas will be entitled to a uniform hardship allowance based on the harsh conditions of the region and not their salary.
Other public servants earning low rates, who do not consider the rates of the allowance as commensurate with the level of hardship in the area, view their posting as punitive.
In Eastern Province the divisions degazetted are Mbooni, Kilungu, Kaiti, and Kilome. Rift Valley has the highest number of divisions no longer designated as hardship areas. These include Ngong in Kajiado North and Fort Ternan-Muhoroni in Ainamoi.
Four divisions in Kilgoris affected by the minister\’s move are Kirdon, Keiyan, Puirra and Kilgoris. Kapsowar, Kapcherop and Chebiemit in Marakwet West. Tirap and Kabiengo in Marakwet top the list from the Rift Valley.
Nyanza Province\’s divisions degazetted include Miwani, Nyando, Upper and Lower Nyakach and Sondu.