Walk the talk on cutting wage bi*l

Friday, April 19th, 2024 06:00 | By
President William Ruto during the Wage Bill Conference
President William Ruto during the Wage Bill Conference. PHOTO/@WilliamsRuto/X

One of the pet subjects for each successive government since the fall of the Kanu regime has been on the urgent need to reduce the bloated wage bill.

President William Ruto has warned that he is ready to make some of the toughest decisions to ensure the government tackles the ballooning public wage bill.

The wage bill for national and county governments has hit 46 per cent, surpassing 35 per cent of tax collected by the Kenya Revenue Authority.

Looking at some of the resolutions made at the just concluded Third National Wage Bill Conference, Kenya looks headed in the right direction if only our political leaders walked the talk. A bloated workforce is mainly as a result of politics.

Quite refreshing to note that participants at the conference agreed that all ministries, departments and agencies, State corporations at the national government level should refine their strategies and action plans to achieve a wage bill to revenue ratio of 35 per cent by 30 June 2028. These strategies and action plans are to be submitted to their respective Cabinet Secretaries by June 30, 2024 for approval to enable the National Treasury and the Controller of Budget to progressively monitor the trajectory and ensure that provision of Personnel Emolument do not exceed the 35 per cent threshold, by 30 June 2028.

Several jobs are “created” every election cycle to buy loyalty. The governors’ eagerness to hire more people when we know the old county councils were bloated is an investment in votes.

 All politicians who get appointed to powerful and influential positions prioritise creating positions for their supporters and hangers-on during the electioneering period.

Government offices populated with sycophants and relatives of politicians who don’t even understand their job descriptions leave alone hold relevant documents at the expense of qualified professionals. The whole idea that this government wants to employ another cadre of idlers in the name of Chief Administrative Secretaries is an irony.

Many are the occasions we have seen a mass of parallel appointments and deployment of staff at both the national and county governments. It is an outright waste of resources, for example when a deployed district officer is doing the same work being undertaken by a sub-county administrator.

There is an urgent need for the government to undertake an audit of all national and local government staff. Only those who fit into the formal governance structure should be retained.

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