Wait for next budget, Githae tells teachers

September 19, 2012 11:19 am
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Finance Minister Robinson Githae said on Wednesday that he had no powers to effect financial allocations outside the current budget which was approved by Parliament/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 19 – The Treasury has told striking teachers that they can only get a pay rise after next year’s budget.

Finance Minister Robinson Githae said on Wednesday that he had no powers to effect financial allocations outside the current budget which was approved by Parliament.

He maintained that the government cannot sustain the demands by teachers noting that a 300 percent pay increase would weigh down the country’s economy and thus affect all Kenyans negatively.

“At the moment, the Minister for Finance has no iota of power to approve anything which is not in the budget. That is what the new Constitution requires,” he said.

“The Constitution decided that if nothing is in the budget, the Minister of Finance has no power to authorise even five cents.”

He pointed out that the government will either be forced to borrow money, increase taxes or cut on development projects to undertake the 300 percent pay rise that teachers are demanding.

“Our economy is still fragile; it needs to be massaged. If we are to proceed with the upward growth, any shock will bring the rate down to a negative mark,” he said.

“We have to be very careful. I can decide to do a Kamotho act to be very popular. You want Sh400 billion, bring the documents, I sign then and give you phase one during my time while the other phases will be delivered in the next ten years,” he said in reference to Joseph Kamotho who was the Education Minister in 1999 when teachers signed a pay deal that is the subject of the current controversy.

“The Constitution decided that if nothing is in the budget, the Minister of Finance has no power to authorise even five cents.”

Githae who has failed to attend several meetings of the Parliamentary Committee on Education said he has been busy.

“If you have a Cabinet meeting, you have a sub-committee of cabinet, you have a question in parliament, you have bills in parliament, where would you go if they were all at the same time,” he explained.

In the meantime, the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) has downplayed fears that examination candidates’ performance will be affected as a result of the ongoing teachers’ strike.

While maintaining that the examinations will not be postponed, Chief Executive Officer Paul Wasanga says most of the syllabus in schools are always covered by the end of the second term.

He further pointed out that a delay in the examinations would have a long term effect on the education sector.

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