The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) has supported the proposal to reduce salaries and wages of public servants.
ICPAK national vice-chairman Julius Mwatu said the rising number of industrial unrests and the high demand for salary increments by some workers was a threat to the management of the public wage bill.
He said: “A huge wage bill is threat to sustainable government expenditure.
“It will be difficult to realise the fiscal responsibility principle related to the percentage of development to recurrent expenditure.”
The Public Finance Management Act 2012 provides that a minimum of 30 per cent be allocated to development expenditure in the medium term.
This applies to both national and county governments.
Mr Mwatu noted that other negative effects of the high wage bill include unsustainable public debt that currently stands at Sh3.77 trillion and a lack of competitiveness of the economy.
“In his State-of-the-Nation address, President Uhuru Kenyatta lamented on the escalating public wage bill, which now stands at 50 per cent of the total government’s revenue,” he said.
“Sadly, this amount goes to two per cent of our country’s population. Therefore, we support the Salaries and Remuneration Commission’s review of the public servants salaries downwards.”
He went on: “We must disabuse the notion that public office is a route to wealth and for that matter ill-gotten riches.
“We must ensure that those who occupy public offices are not motivated by salaries and other incentives, but by the interest of 98 per cent Kenyans, who are not in the public wage bill.”
Addressing a press conference at Travellers Beach Hotel in Mombasa on Wednesday on the sidelines of ICPAK’s annual governance and ethics conference, Mr Mwatu also supported the Salaries Commission’s evaluation of jobs in the public service.
The ICPAK official said the government ought to look into the issue of duplication of functions in the public service to help reduce the workforce as part of a solution to the huge public wage bill.
“The government needs to make assessment of the ministries and parastatals and find out whether there are duplication of functions as such issues might have caused the bloated work force triggering huge public salaries,” he said.
“If you have 10 accountants in a job which can be done by five accountants, then the other five must be relieved of their duties to bring down the wage bill,” he advised.