Kenya’s soaring wage bill and how to tame it – Part 2

We recommend you read Kenya’s soaring wage bill and how to tame it – Part 1 first.


1. Harmonize employments by the counties with the national government – As usual, a commission should be set up to create and harmonize offices in the counties and the National Government. Just as the Parastatals were merged and some eradicated due to duplicity of roles, offices in the National and County Governments with duplicate mandates should be merged or scrapped. I thought that the Transition Authority ought to have been in the forefront in ensuring smooth transition from one central governance to county governance but it seems it forgot to address job vacancies and county offices. The National Government Employees based at the counties ought to have been absorbed by the county governments before new job vacancies were advertised.

2. Counties to pay their own work force – Out of about Shs 210 billion allocated to counties, only Shs 44 billion is channeled to development projects. The rest of the money goes to settle the soaring wage bill and the other ever bulging recurrent budget. The counties are mandated to collect their own revenues from several sources. It is my suggestion that every county must be made to channel more than 80% of revenues received from the National Government to development projects. It should be up to the counties to fund their own wages and recurrent budget by ensuring efficient collection, allocation, and utilization of revenue.

3. Empower the middle class – The middle class should be allowed to spend. This cannot be possible in Kenya, a country that has been ranked as one of the most tax hungry globally. To encourage spending, the country needs to do away with the numerous taxes imposed on SMEs, startups, and tools for running them e.g. communication gadgets. The government can then get revenue from the services the middle class will spend on.

4. Abolish the senate, reduce the seats in National Assembly to less than 100, and scrap some of  those constitution commissions – Some of these will require a National Referendum. The main role of Parliament is to enact laws; do we need 396 greedy and mostly brainless sycophants to legislate? In the recent past we have witnessed crucial bills being passed by less than 20 members of parliament. Are 47 members of parliament insufficient to enact working laws? We also need to change the constitution to stipulate that a member of parliament must have a basic training in law. The Problem with a referendum is that most Kenyans do not really know the impact of a bloated Parliament and redundant commissions on the economy; so they will be convinced, very easily by the opposing side, to vote against such a referendum. But for prosperity sake we need a lean Government. I don’t know why some people thought that the size of Cabinet was the only source of a bloated Government.

Other things that should be addressed are salaries of the commissioners. We do not have to employ people who work less than a hour daily on a full time basis. Some of these guys earn more on sitting allowance than most Kenyans earn after 30 days of hard labor. Commissioners should be paid per sitting – period.

5. Stop the freebies – We do not need free laptops, free milk (is that promise still on?) and free Wi-Fi. Ok we need the last one. Enough said.

6. Stop borrowing – We borrow for small and big projects just because we want to pay a lot to 1% of Kenyans. These 1% of Kenyans should be made to contribute to the big projects we borrow for. Just as the wage bill, our external debt rate has exceeded the Internationally recommended upper limit.

Benard Oloo who is guest Author with has contributed immensely to this article.


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