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Over 3,600 top civil servants pocket billions monthly

Salaries and Remuneration Commission Chairperson,Sarah Serem PHOTO:COURTESY

More than 3,600 top civil servants, officials and commissioners earn Sh1.6 billion every month, which could account for half of the annual budgets of a number of ministries.

Currently, for every Sh1 spent on salaries, only Sh0.45 goes to development, meaning the Government is using up almost three quarters of its resources to pay salaries. This may get worse with planned salary awards to doctors, teachers and university lecturers.

The high pay also uncovers glaring disparities across all Government parastatals, authorities and commissions.

With the looming pay cut for top State officers, we reveal some of the highest paid officials in these categories, which the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) chairperson Sarah Serem may target as she seeks to address the ballooning wage bill.

Leading the pack are President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto, whose monthly salary is Sh1.7 million andSh1.4 million, respectively.

These are the latest figures from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission but their take home could be much higher when other generous allowances, like foreign travel, are factored into the pay package.

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However, holders of the presidency enjoy allowances that are unrivalled by any other state officer and include allowances given to State residences and the elaborate security, which together can amount to a monthly spend of Sh10 million.

Others who have their pay packets boosted with bonuses are Attorney General Githu Muigai, who earns a salary of Sh1,095,019 per month, but allowances could push his pay to over Sh2 million and House Speakers Justin Muturi (National Assembly) and Ekwe Ethuro (Senate), who each pocket at least Sh1.4 million per month, according to the SRC’s revised pay structure for the term ending in August 2017.

The monthly salary of each of the 416 MPs – 349 members of the National Assembly and 67 senators – stands at about Sh1.2 million.

While the basic salary of an MP was Sh555,696 per month in 2013, this basic pay has since changed to Sh710,000 when we factored a Sh44,375 annual increments.

Besides the basic salary, each MP received a Sh5 million upfront payment of a ‘car grant’ in 2013, which works out as an advance payment of Sh83,333 a month and also qualifies to pocket Sh80,000 weekly in House sitting allowances.

In addition, each legislator is eligible for Sh356,525 per month as car maintenance allowance, a weekly mileage allowances for travel costs to constituencies and generous foreign travel perks to raise the gross pay for each of the 416 MPs to over Sh1.2 million a month.

Senior MPs like deputy speakers, Dr Joyce Laboso and Gembi Gitura, Majority Leaders Aden Duale and Kithure Kindiki, Minority Leaders Jakoyo Midiwo and Moses Wetang’ula who have an additional responsibility allowance of Sh150,000 per month have the potential to earn more.

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In the Judiciary, the highest paid officer, Chief Justice David Maraga, takes home at least Sh1.4 million, while his deputy Justice Philomena Mwilu receives Sh1.25 per month.

The five supreme court judges, Justice Smokin Wanjala, Mohamed Ibrahim, Jackton Ojwang, Justice Njoki Ndungu and Isaac Leneola each take home Sh1.2 million. The CJ, DCJ and High Court judges enjoy similar medical allowances as those of MPs.

State officers in the Judiciary, Executive and Parliament have negotiated for a super medical cover pegged at Sh10 million for inpatient and Sh500,000 for outpatient care.

“In 2013, SRC set the State Officers’ salaries and benefits and advised on how this would be implemented. Despite a reduction of pay from the previous 10th Parliament, the Government is spending about 50 per cent of its total revenue on public sector wage bill at the expense of development,” says SRC chairperson Sarah Serem.

Anne Gitau, SRC’s Commission Secretary, says currently the wage bill for State officers is at Sh15.1 billion ($145 million), including salaries for the newly created offices at the county and national government levels.

In the counties, the 47 governors who are in their fifth year in office are now earning a maximum pay of Sh1.1 million a month each, excluding fat allowances in foreign travel.

Governors with additional responsibilities like Council of Governors’ chairperson Peter Munya and chairmen of various committee like Health headed by Kisumu governor Jack Ranguma could earn more.

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Details of the high earners that emerged also show that DPP Keriako Tobiko earns Sh902,432 monthly, while the chairpersons of PSC, Margaret Kobia, and TSC Lydia Nzomo earn a flat rate of Sh750,000 per month, excluding allowances.

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati takes home Sh1,080,000 per month and his vice chairperson pockets Sh895,270 per month.

The newly appointed EACC chairman retired Archbishop Eliud Wabukala’s monthly pay stands at Sh750,000 and is among some of the top earners.

Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo earns Sh895,270, while Auditor General Edward Ouko earns Sh1,082,000, CRA Chairperson Jane Kiringai Sh750,000pm and the NIS Director General earns Sh916,757.

The 47 deputy governors each earn Sh728,831, while the Clerks of the County Assembly complete the list of the highest paid in the county governments at Sh280,880 per month.

Serem confirmed the commission had completed a draft report on the salary review for State officers. The reduced salaries are expected to apply to those who come to office after the August 8 general elections.

“In 2013, the commission set the salaries and remuneration for State Officers after undertaking a job evaluation. We are currently reviewing the same based on the economic parameters and sustainability principle,” Serem said.

She explained that wages for public officers around the world are evaluated against the economic situation of their respective countries, and are calculated in terms of the percentage of GDP or revenue and cost of living (to cushion against inflation).

“Bearing in mind that Kenya’s revenues are low compared to developed economies, our wage bill is high and unsustainable,” she said.

More so, Kenya’s current wage bill against revenue is 52 per cent compared to the recommended level of 30-35 per cent for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Serem cautions.

SRC completed job evaluations for over 600,000 public servants that would see the low earners get a pay rise in July.

“We have proposed a new pay structure for the civil service to bridge the gap between the highest paid and the lowest,” says Serem.

 

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