Cash windfall for chiefs and county commissioners

Friday, May 7th, 2021 00:00 | By
National Government Administrative officers attend a past meeting. Photo/PD/FILE

Government administrators, ranging from regional commissioners to assistant chiefs, are set to start pocketing between Sh80,000 and Sh7,000 in new allowances announced by the government.

The new extraneous allowance, which was approved yesterday, will cover the administrators from risks related to their work.

The government noted that the new perks for the National Government Administrative Officers (NGAO), are in recognition of the highly-challenging working conditions they operate in.

Those set to benefit include administrators from the Assistant Chief all the way up to the Regional Commissioner, according to an announcement by the Interior ministry.

Regional Commissioners will get an average monthly allowance of Sh80,000 while County Commissioners will get Sh70,000. The lowest cadre in the NGAO, the Assistant Chiefs, will be entitled to a monthly allowance of Sh7,000.

Motivating officers

There are about 10,000 officers representing sub-locations, locations, wards, sub-counties, counties and regions.

Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho said the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) had approved the field service allowance, which, he said, was commensurate with the nature of work and risks involved in the field.

“The ministry gladly acknowledges this pertinent move geared towards motivating the officers with a view to improving service delivery,” Dr Kibicho said.

Top Interior ministry officials yesterday met with the Public Service Commission (PSC) to discuss succession management and filling vacancies within the established structures in the ministry using internal capacity.

The deliberations revolved around the employment terms of administrative officers in the ministry’s headquarters as well as those in the field.

Besides routine coordination of security services across the country, their mandate has in the recent past been expanded through executive orders No. 3/2014, No. 1/2016, and No. 1/2018 (revised).

The orders contain presidential directives aimed at strengthening service delivery up to the grassroots level.

The available human resource capacity within the NGAOs structure has been stretched, compelling the administrators to shoulder almost double the usual responsibilities.

Covid-19 crisis

“In determining the allowances, PSC and SRC had also taken into account the extra responsibilities, extraneous nature of their roles, fairness and equity relative to all other public servants, and broad implications on the fiscal sustainability of the wage bill in the entire public sector,” PS Kibicho said.

The allowance came on a day members of the National Assembly were passing the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill, setting the stage for potentially bruising referendum campaigns pitting supporters of the process against its opponents.

The administrators are expected to play a crucial role in sensitising and mobilising the masses into participating in the referendum expected later this year.

The new allowance also comes at a time the country’s economy is reeling from adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a new Treasury report showing that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth decreased by 5.5 per cent in the second quarter and 1.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2020, compared to an expansion of 5.3 per cent in the second quarter and 5.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2019.

The allowance also comes at a time the government is increasingly turning to foreign lenders to service its operations, with the latest report showing that it borrowed a record Sh132 billion between September last year and March this year, an average of Sh19 billion a month.

In December 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta issued a directive ordering NGAOs in the field to be considered for field administrative allowance, saying their work was challenging, coupled by an expanded mandate.

Service delivery

The Interior ministry mandate was expanded through Executive Orders No.1 of 2018, No 1 and 2 of 2019 and as a result, the officers were tasked with extra responsibilities.

The responsibilities include maintaining good government image, promotion of statehood and nationhood, representation of the Head of State at any rank in the command and control structure, performance of the principal functionary and protocol as the Government spokespersons in areas of their jurisdiction, and supervision and reporting on service delivery and projects implementation to the President.

The President said in order to achieve this and guarantee productivity, there was a need for commensurate remuneration and reward.

Most chiefs and assistant chiefs have reported threats to their lives in the course of performing their duties. Some of them have asked the government to issue them with guns.

In December 2019, for example, Mbwajumwali chief Mohammed Famau and Myabogi sub-location assistant chief Athman Shee were slashed to death in their offices by unknown assailants in what police termed as a daring attack never witnessed before in the region.

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