Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta continued Monday (March 10th) to announce slashes to salaries of top officials in an effort to cut down the country’s wage bill.
On Friday (March 7th), Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto announced that they would be taking a 20% pay cut, while ministers’ salaries would be reduced by 10%. The pay cuts will take place “with immediate effect” Kenyatta said in a speech on Friday, adding that the current spending levels were unsustainable.
The government will also limit foreign travel to only the most essential trips, according to Kenyatta. “Wastage in my government will be significantly reduced,” he said.
“We are spending 400 billion shillings ($4.6 billion) every year paying salaries; it leaves us only from our own resources a figure of 200 billion shillings to transform Kenya,” Kenyatta said. “This is why we are saying that is the ratio which is not sustainable… We need to deal with this monster if we are to develop this nation.”
On Monday (March 10th), he ordered parastatal chiefs to take a mandatory 20% pay cut with immediate effect.
“And let me assure you, if you fail to do so, there are many Kenyans who are ready and willing to take up those jobs at that lower rate,” Kenyatta said according to Capital FM.
Kenyatta also urged the country’s lawmakers to follow his lead and also lower their salaries.
“We hope that other arms of government will follow suit and have their salaries reviewed. The [members of parliament] have heard and know what Kenyans want,” he said. Kenyatta’s monthly income will be reduced to about 990,000 shillings ($11,400) from 1.2 million shilling ($14,300), while Ruto’s will be lowered to 841,500 shillings ($9,700) from 1.1 million shillings ($12,100), according to Kenya’s Capital FM.
Lawmakers last year reluctantly agreed to a pay cut, bringing their monthly pay checks down to around 532,000 shillings ($6,100).
The minimum wage in Nairobi for a manual labourer is around 8,500 ($98) shillings a month. The cabinet will now earn 633,600 shillings ($7,300), reduced from 792,000 shillings ($9,100), and the principal secretaries will earn 524,700 ($6,000) from 655,875 shillings ($7,500).
The Salaries and Remuneration Commission Chairwoman Sarah Serem has said that public servants will also be called upon to take voluntary pay cuts, Kenya’s The Standard reported.