We won’t be cowed on salaries, MPs told

May 13, 2013 8:49 am
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The commission's chairperson Sarah Serem said the economy could not sustain higher salaries due to low revenue collection and natural disasters/FILE
The commission’s chairperson Sarah Serem said the economy could not sustain higher salaries due to low revenue collection and natural disasters/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, May 13 – The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) has stood firm in rejecting a pay hike demand by Members of Parliament, despite threats to dismiss commissioners.

The commission’s chairperson Sarah Serem said the economy could not sustain higher salaries due to low revenue collection and natural disasters.

She maintained that the SRC would stick to its constitutional mandate and not worry over a scheme by MPs to eject them from office.

“We have not been boxed into any corner. We are an independent commission and we are subject to no other direction other than the direction and authority of the Constitution,” she clarified.

“The issues of intimidation are not anything we will stop and listen to. We are moving us per our mandate.”

Serem said public servants currently stood at 700,000 representing about 1.6 percent of total population yet took more than 50 percent of total revenue.

She explained that the 2012/2013 projected revenue stood at Sh900 billion and the public servants consumed Sh458 billion.

“The government has set an economic growth target of between seven and 10 percent. To achieve this, it is imperative that the public wage bill which currently stands at Sh458 billion is reduced to a manageable level,” Serem said.

SRC Commissioner Peter Oloo Aringo, who represents the Parliamentary Service Commission, also maintained that Parliament was fully involved in the determination of the MPs’ salaries.

He accused the lawmakers of dishonesty, and instead asked them to respect the principles enshrined in the Constitution.

“Albert Einstein said that if you continue to do things in the same way but expect different results, it becomes a measure of insanity,” he retorted.

“We broke from the old Constitution in order to do things differently. To go back and repeat the things we did in the old Constitution is in itself insanity.”

Serem also explained that the commission would not touch on the salaries of civil servants who had contracts including that of the chairman of the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution, Charles Nyachae.

She further maintained that the SRC had not reviewed any salaries downwards and had also not given themselves a pay hike either.

“Leadership is about sacrifice and we need to put our energies into more productive issues. Let us not be part of the problem,” she urged.

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