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Retrench redundant staff, CRA Chair Micah Cheserem tells counties

Commission on Revenue Allocation Chairman Michael Cheserem has asked counties to retrench redundant staff to rein in rising wage bills.

Mr Cheserem said the devolved units would have extra funds for development if they reduced the number of employees.

Speaking when he paid Kisii Governor James Ongwae a courtesy call in his office on Tuesday, the CRA chair said salaries consumed a huge chunk of the money allocated to counties.

He called for retrenchment of staff in counties registering more than 35 per cent in recurrent expenditure.

“I think governors who will come in the next term should think along this line so that devolution can have its intended effect,” Mr Cheserem said.

He cited Kisii as one of the counties with an unacceptable levels of wage bill.

He said a significant percentage amount of the Sh7.5 billion the regional government received from the National Treasury went to salaries and that only a paltry figure remained for development.

He said only through a sustainable wage bills that devolved units would succeed and devolution would be realised.

“With high wage bills we will still be stuck at where we have been all these long. Our women will still be fetching water from several kilometres away on jerricans and donkeys,” said Mr Cheserem.

On his part, the Kisii governor said the county has made significant strides in development courtesy of devolution.

Mr Ongwae cited an improved health care system, transport and agriculture among development that have been improved four years since devolution took effect.

He lauded Mr Cheserem saying he is among leading lights that have played an instrumental role in ensuring devolution works in the country.

“For this we are very thankful and as a Governor I want to assure you that we want the welfare of our people to improve through this,” Mr Ongwae said.

He said the County now has more than 25 banks from the initial 12 that existed before devolution and more than 17 insurance companies from the nine that initially existed.

Mr Ongwae said staff inherited from the defunct municipal counties have affected the county’s wage bill.

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