NAIROBI, Kenya, March 10 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has now ordered all parastatal chiefs to take a 20 percent pay cut with immediate effect or quit government if dissatisfied.
Speaking during the launch of the National Dialogue on the Public Wage Bill on Monday at the KICC, the Head of State indicated that pay cuts for government employees were no longer an option, but mandatory to address the sky-rocketing wage bill.
“Parastatal chiefs will conform to what the Executive has done and we expect that they will take an equivalent 20 percent pay cut like we have done because it is our job to formulate policy and we expect them to do so,” he stated. “And let me assure you, if you fail to do so, there are many Kenyans who are ready and willing to take up those jobs at that lower rate.”
While emphasising that the current wage bill was unsustainable, President Kenyatta pointed out that it would be easier to pay off those who opt to seek legal redress for breach of contract than continue having them in government.
“And those who resist can go to court. Even if they are awarded (damages), it is cheaper for us to pay them off and get other people. So they should not think that they are going to take us back. You need to accept this but if you can’t, you can go look for employment where they can pay you that amount of money,” he said.
During the meeting attended by at least 500 participants drawn from different sectors of the economy President Kenyatta further empasised the need to explore other avenues of reducing the wage bill.
“And let me tell you in all honesty that we are not doing this to hurt anybody but just to provoke some thoughts from you. Imagine today, rather than say we want a higher pay increase because the cost of power has gone up, why can we not take those reduced savings and invest it in energy so that we reduce the cost of power, production so that we make goods and services much more affordable to our people,” he said.
“Imagine if we could agree today to save, reduce our costs, invest in agriculture, invest in irrigation, reduce the price of unga from Sh120 to Sh60, that will help you and common mwananchi and remove the pressure from increasing wages. That is a much better way forward,” he stated.
Last week, President Kenyatta announced that he and his Deputy President William Ruto were taking a 20 percent pay cut to bring down the public wage bill.
According to the Executive pay structure gazetted by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission last year, that means President Kenyatta will now take home Sh990,000 instead of Sh 1,237,500 million.
Ruto will now earn less than the Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi and take home Sh841,500 million as opposed to Sh1.051 million.
The Cabinet Secretaries who earned just over Sh792,000 will now take Sh633,600 while Principal Secretaries who were getting 655,875 will now earn Sh524,700.
The Head of State acknowledged that it would take a concerted effort from all of Arms of Government to significantly reduce the public wage bill.