Kakamega employees protest delayed NHIF remittances

The county has 7, 600 staff who draws 600 million in salaries

In Summary
  • The county has not remitted NHIF and NSSF contributions despite deducting the money from staff
  • County secretary says they organise for bank overdrafts to pay employees their net salaries 
Kakamega county secretary Lawrence Omuhaka speaking to journalists in his office on Friday
Kakamega county secretary Lawrence Omuhaka speaking to journalists in his office on Friday

Kakamega county staff have protested over non-remittance of their statutory deductions, saying this has denied them access to health services.

The county has not remitted their NHIF and NSSF contributions for  March and April, despite deducting the money from their payslips.

“When you go to hospital you’re turned away and told that your card is not up to date yet the money was taken away from your salary. One has to pay cash to get services,” an employee who declined to be named said.

Several staff who are servicing loans by commercial banks told the Star that they are now being penalised for delayed repayment of their credit facilities, even though the money is deducted from their pay.

Insurance brokers also complained that they were not being paid because of failure by the county to pay premiums.

The delays in remittances is attributed to lack of adequate funds.  

County secretary Lawrence Omuhaka said they rely on the equitable share cash revenue disbursed by national treasury.

The county receives a monthly disbursement of Sh1 billion, out of which Sh100 million goes to the assembly. The county collected Sh 1.3 billion from its own sources in the last financial year.

“We are forced to organise for bank overdrafts to pay the employees their net salaries so that we can remit statutory deductions when we receive money and that is why they realise they have earned but their contributions have not been remitted,” Omuhaka said.

The county has 7,600 staff who draw Sh600 million in salaries. Omuhaka said the government was planning a meeting with the staff to explain the cause of the delays. 

“Instead of keeping our employees without salaries as we wait for the funds from Treasury, we go for a loan of about 250 million to pay them the net salaries so that we can keep them going then we can pay their statutory deductions later. Let them bear with us,” he said.

The administration inherited pending bills and a huge wage bill triggered by last-minute employment, as well as incomplete mega projects.

“We are trying to pay pending bills but the money is too much. The past regime left pending bills worth Sh900 million and Sh600 million in retention fees,” he said.

NHIF had also not remitted to the county over Sh300million for services offered to its members by hospitals in the county.

Omuhaka said the county was carrying out staff rationalisation and productivity mainstreaming. A task force was working on how to reduce the wage bill, which consumes 42 per cent of the county's annual budget.

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