, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 24 – The government is now probing ways through which it will raise the Sh13.5 billion promised to teachers at the end of October.
The deal was penned at a meeting between Finance Minister Njeru Githae and the two teachers’ unions on Sunday and Monday, but Githae admits that the government does not readily have the cash.
Githae said he will announce to the country on Friday how the Treasury will generate the billions, after committees led by Treasury PS Joseph Kinyua which are working on modalities to raise the funds present their findings.
He explained that the committees will address issues dealing with austerity measures, the development budget, taxation, sealing leakages and borrowing.
“There’s a committee working on austerity measures and asking if there’s room for more austerity measures in the current budget without bringing the ministries to a standstill,” he said.
“There’s another committee also working on the development budget seeing if there’s any room to slow down on development. Lastly, there’s a committee working on taxation to see if there’s room for further taxation,” he added.
Githae revealed that another committee was looking at how the government can increase revenue while another committee was mulling borrowing options, locally or internationally to fund the salaries.
The teachers reached an agreement with the Treasury after Githae committed to making a one-off payment of Sh13.5 billion at the end of October.
There’s a committee working on taxation to see if there’s room for further taxation – Githae
With the signing of the deal, the lowest paid teacher will take home a basic salary of Sh19,323 up from Sh13,000 while the highest paid will pocket Sh142,000, up from Sh120,270.
The teachers will also get hardship and special schools allowances at 30 percent and 10 percent of their basic salaries respectively, allowances which had been frozen by the government in June 2009.
Githae added that the Salaries and Remuneration Commission was reviewing the pay scales and job grading schemes, after which such discrepancies will easily be dealt with.
“They will come with grades from one to four for every occupation so that it’s harmonised, and with this grade you can now change from teaching to join central civil service or military and earn the same amount, because it comes with your grade,” he explained.
Githae defended the Treasury’s decision to wait so long to intervene in the strike, saying that it’s not their job to micromanage line ministries.
“It’s up to the line ministries to negotiate and once they agree on something, that’s the only time they come to Treasury to ask how it will be funded,” he explained.