NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 1 – The National Assembly begun debate on an amendment to the Public Service Act on Thursday which among things seeks to prescribe that civil servants will no longer be allowed to hold office in an acting capacity for more than six months.
The Bill sponsored by Embakasi Central MP Benjamin Gathiru seeks to ensure no acting allowances are payable beyond six months.
The legislation will hopefully bring to end a tradition of keeping civil servants in acting positions for inordinately long periods of time without confirmation or naming of substantive office holders.
Gathiru explained the amendments sought will increase the number of vacancies available to Kenyans, as the Bill also prescribes that the mandatory age of retirement be retained at 60 years without exception.
MPs Charles Njaguah, Makali Mulu, Robert Mbui and Dan Maanzo noted that at the moment, a number of civil servants are allowed to work beyond the 60-year age limit on account of possessing rare knowledge, skills and competencies.
The lawmakers said the Public Service Commission (PSC) and other appointing authorities should be keen on succession planning and take the necessary steps to ensure that they train others in the organisations to take up these positions.
“The period of six months prescribed should provide adequate time for the organisation to recruit and substantively fill the position. Failure to comply with this provision will result in the officer not earning any acting allowances,” the Embakasi Central lawmaker proposed.
The proposed changes came in the wake of radical policy stopping employment of entry-level State workers on permanent and pensionable terms from July.
Only senior civil servants of the rank of a director (Job Group S) and above are currently hired on contractual terms.
PSC Chairperson Stephen Kirogo said the new policy is aimed at reducing the public wage bill while enhancing productivity.