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WAGE BILL

Governors must tame hiring craze

The wage bill has jump through the roof in counties.

In Summary
  • The success of devolution remains controversial, eight years after inception.
  • CoB report indicates that the biggest chunk of county resources is used on salaries.
Chair of Council of Governors Wycliff Oparanya and other governors during a briefing on the Ugatuzi Initiative.
Chair of Council of Governors Wycliff Oparanya and other governors during a briefing on the Ugatuzi Initiative.
Image: COURTESY

One of the fundamental reasons why Kenyans agitated for devolution was to spur rapid socioeconomic development. The devolved units were to also eliminate marginalisation.

However, the success of devolution remains a controversial subject, eight years after inception. One thing that is clear is that counties have gone into an unsustainable hiring extravaganza. The wage bill has jump through the roof.

The latest report by the Controller of Budget indicates that the 47 counties spent Sh171.83 billion on personnel emoluments. This is about 44.8 per cent of the total expenditure. Another Sh106.23 billion went towards operations.

This means that only 27 per cent of county cash is available for development. The Public Finance Management Act stipulates that counties should not spend more than 35 per cent of their budgets on staff emoluments. This means that counties engaged in illegalities.

Governors must personally take an interest in the unsustainable wage bill in counties. They must ensure that only necessary but highly competent staff are hired. The bulk of county resources must be channelled towards development. This was indeed the reasons Kenyans agitated for it.

Without tangible development, Kenyans will lose faith in devolution and may want in time to revert to centralisation just as it happened after Independence.

Quote of the Day: “Society goes on and on and on. It is the same with ideas.”

Ramsay MacDonald

The British Prime Minister was born on October 12, 1866.