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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More