News / Africa

Kenyan Leader, Cabinet Cut Own Pay to Curb Government Wage Bill

FILE - Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta
FILE - Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta
Reuters
Kenya's president and Cabinet on Friday agreed to a pay cut as part of austerity measures meant to reduce the government wage bill and free up funds for use in economic development - and called on lawmakers to do the same.
    
Uhuru Kenyatta announced a month after his election in March last year that he would make reducing Kenya's ballooning public sector wage bill a priority, saying it was "unsustainable" and weighing on the national budget.
    
The move was also a nod to public opinion, which often expresses anger at the salaries of public officials which are many times higher than those of ordinary Kenyans.
    
On Friday, Kenyatta said he and Deputy President William Ruto will be taking a 20 percent cut on their monthly pay, and that the country's 18 Cabinet secretaries had agreed to take a 10 percent pay reduction. The pay cuts take effect immediately.
    
Kenyatta earns a salary of 1.2 million shillings ($13,900) a month, his deputy earns 1.1 million shillings while Cabinet secretaries earn about 800,000 shillings.
    
The country's minimum wage is about 5,756 shillings a month.
    
The government would also only restrict international travel for its officials to only essential trips, he said.
    
"Wastage in my government will be significantly reduced," the president told a news conference after a week-long meeting by the cabinet at a luxury resort in Nanyuki, central Kenya.
    
Kenyatta said the actions would "demonstrate our firm resolve to properly manage" public funds.
    
Asked whether Kenya's legislators, who are among the best paid in Africa, would also take a pay cut, Kenyatta said he would urge them to do so.
    
A move in June granting MPs extra allowances angered many in a country where the official unemployment rate stands at 40 percent.
    
He said the cabinet had singled out the need for more spending in security, to buy more equipment such as cars, better housing and life insurance for each police officer to help improve security and attract investment.
    
In a speech last April, Kenyatta said that at around 458 billion shillings public sector wages made up 12 percent of Kenya's gross domestic product, compared to a "globally recommended average of seven percent of GDP."
    
In January, Kenyatta ordered an audit of the public sector payroll to end the practice of corrupt officials claiming salaries on behalf of "ghost employees" - workers who have died, retired or deserted their duties.
    
At the time, the president said an estimated 70 million shillings were paid out a month to officers no longer employed in the service or about 1.8 billion shillings annually.
    
Kenya's economy expanded at a below-target 5.1 percent in 2013 but growth is expected to accelerate to 5.8 percent this year, the Treasury said in January.

($1 = 86.6300 Kenyan shillings)

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs