Kenyan Cuts



Kenya recently announced a drastic salary cut for all cadres of state employees in a bid to reduce a swelling wage bill that was to blame for the sluggish economic growth. Chairperson of Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), Sarah Serem, said the pay cut for state officials would be accompanied by abolition of mileage and sitting allowances to cushion the Kenyan tax-payers from inflationary pressures.

According to the report, Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto will be affected by the proposed salary cut that will be implemented from September 2017 to 2022. The move will also affect cabinet secretaries, senior civil servants like lawmakers, county executives and ward representatives whose hefty perks had reportedly exerted huge pressure on public finances.

Serem said Kenya had borrowed global best practices in its bid to tame the skyrocketing wage bill that has undermined economic growth and investments in poverty alleviation projects. She added that the government would critically examine the competence of civil servants before awarding them a salary hike.

From the Kenyan scenario, a few lessons emerge for Nigeria. Firstly, the Salaries boss didn’t wait for any protests or opposition from the affected top government officials before announcing the pay cuts; which would have been the case in Nigeria where legislators rejig the national budget to ensure a greater allocation to the National Assembly. Secondly, those concerned appear prepared to bear the ‘financial discomfort’ for the next five years simply for the common good.

Lastly, the pay cuts slashed from the top echelon of government down to the ward level, which is a top-to-bottom approach showcasing sacrificial leadership and commitment to national growth and progress. If only Nigerian leaders can adopt this Kenyan model to ensure good governance…wishful thinking

– Abimbola Akosile