- Bloated wage bill has been a hot potato in the county since the inception of devolution.
- The speaker said, sacking of staff should not be taken as an option to deal with the salary burden issue.
Taita Taveta County Assembly has refuted claims that it approved the sacking of some county workers to reduce the county's wage bill.
Speaker Wisdom Mwamburi in a statement said the proposed rationalisation of staff, which should be taken in various ways, does not include laying off staff who are already engaged by the devolved unit.
Controversy arose after the county Assembly in a special sitting on May 8 approved the staff rationalisation plan that aimed at taming the ballooning burden of paying salaries.
Mwamburi however said the plan was just a recommendation contained in the county’s third supplementary budget for 2022/2023 financial year, which was passed during the sitting.
The ward reps, he said, approved a Sh378 million supplementary budget to cater for employee emoluments, as submitted by the Executive.
“The supplementary budget was occasioned by the need to fund salaries and emoluments for staff and to budget for additional grants from the World Bank which have since been received by the county,” the speaker said.
He said the county’s choking wage bill now stands at 53 per cent of the total budget, necessitating the need for curbing.
Bloated wage bill has been a hot potato in the county since the inception of devolution. None of the three governors has reduced the workforce, despite numerous recommendations to reduce the number of staffers.
Former governors John Mruttu and Granton Samboja faced difficulties in controlling the growing number of workers. Existence of ghost workers was also blamed for the high wage bill during their tenures.
Similarly, Governor Andrew Mwadime has hardly made a step in spearing the giant. A report on staffs’ headcount meant to weed out ghost workers and reduce the wage bill is yet to be released.
However, the speaker said, sacking of staff should not be taken as an option to deal with the salary burden since it would result in more cost in compensations and court cases.
“The assembly is alive to the fact that sacking of staff would not only render families unable to earn their daily bread, but will also be very costly to the county as sacking staff will means fully compensating them according to the existing labour laws,” he added.
He said the MCAs will work closely with Governor Mwadime to implement the rationalisation plan.
The assembly has now embarked on public participation hearings on the budget estimates for the 2023/2024 financial year and the County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP), 2023-2027.