Kenyans have backed the decision by the country’s salary and remuneration commission to reduce salaries for state officers including the president, his deputy and the members of parliament.
In a raft of reforms announced on Monday, the commission says the move would cut the country’s ballooning wage bill by 35% and the save the country at least $89M annually.
Kenyans although sceptical that the new guidelines will be implemented, say the decision has been too long coming.
At the beginning of their parliamentary term, Kenyan MPs already among the best paid the world voted to increase their salaries by 130% despite protests by angry Kenyans.
The new guidelines by the salaries and remuneration commission will slash their pay by 12%, and see them lose their allowances. They will take home $6,000 down from $7, 000.
Many Kenyans see MPs as a symbol of greed. SABC News sought their views on the announcement:
“I am happy that there is no point …suffering,” said one Kenyan.
Another says, “We are not economically strong, so it is better for equity.”
“There are people who are living below the minimum wage,” adds another citizen.
The announcement comes ahead of this year’s General elections and so some Kenyans see this as a campaign ploy.
More citizens commented and say, “This is what they would have done a long time ago, when they go to parliament, they will hike again.”
Meanwhile, some think the commission could have done better.
“Only 12% that is rubbish…..it’s embarrassing.”
Also affected is the president’s salary which will be cut to $ 15,000 a month from $17, 000.
President Uhuru Kenyatta who is seeking re-election welcomed the move. “The days of wasteful allowances and peculiar but inexplicable payments are behind us.”
Kenya’s public sector wage bill currently stands at 9.5% of the GDP.
– By Sarah Kimani