PUBLIC WAGE BILL

Reduce allowances to increase state efficiency

In Summary

• In the 1990s there 30 different allowances for civil servants. Today the number has shot up to 247.

• Allowances constitute 41 percent of the wage bill that Treasury wants to reduce.

Acting Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani when he appeared before the Senate Finance Committee on November 26, 2019 over pending bills.
Acting Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani when he appeared before the Senate Finance Committee on November 26, 2019 over pending bills.
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

The government wage bill is now Sh795 billion, which accounts for 48 percent of all KRA collections (see P14).

Shockingly 'allowances' constitute Sh322 billion, 41 percent of the total wage bill. The government has now resolved to formulate a policy framework to streamline allowances for civil servants.

In the 1990s, there were just 30 payable allowances in the civil service. Now that number has shot up to 247 different types of allowances.

Yesterday the Salaries and Remuneration Commission said the policy framework will provide a standard measure for all allowances apart from housing and transport.

The Treasury will reduce the wage bill as a percentage of the budget. Rationalising allowances will help to achieve this.

But it will also help make government more efficient. Today there is a tendency to hold meetings for their own sake, not because they are truly needed, since allowances can double the salaries of top officials. If sitting allowances were slashed, there would be fewer meetings and government would become less bureaucratic.

So we should all support the BBI proposal that salaried public officials should not be entitled to sitting allowances.

Quote of the day: "Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither."

C. S. Lewis
The British writer was born on November 29, 1898.