Fellow Kenyans, Ladies and Gentlemen,Good Morning,Let me start by thanking all of you for finding time to come to this important launch of the Public Sector Remuneration and Benefits Policy and the job evaluation exercise.
It is now more than a year ago since we met to launch the national wage bill debate, which culminates in today’s launch of the Public Sector Remuneration and Benefits Policy, and the long-awaited job evaluation exercise. The basic objective of this policy is to operationalise Article 239 of the Constitution, which requires (i) that the wage bill be fiscally sustainable; (ii) that the public service be able to attract and retain skills required to execute their functions; (iii) that productivity and performance be recognised; and (iv) that transparency and fairness be observed. The job evaluation to be undertaken by the Commission is necessary because of the new pay and benefits policy. I understand the aim of this exercise is to harmonise and streamline pay and benefits in the public sector with a view to ensuring that public money is managed in an effective, efficient and prudent manner.Quite frankly, this launch marks an important milestone in the history of our public service: never before have we developed such a comprehensive remuneration and benefits policy; and neither have we ever set ourselves the task of completing a job-evaluation exercise that covers the entire public service. This is a clear indication of the Commission’s commitment to diligently execute the functions that have been assigned to it by our constitution. Ladies and Gentlemen,This work by the Commission is, indeed, not only important, but it comes at a crucial stage in our history. Over the last few years, we have observed with serious concern the rapid growth of the public sector wage bill. While the number of public servants has grown by about 3% per year over the last 5 years, the public sector wage bill has grown at an average annual rate of 20.9 percent over the same period. As a result, we are currently spending 11 percent of our national income on public sector wage bill against the global benchmark of 7 percent.Clearly such a trend is unsustainable and should not be allowed to continue.If such a trend were allowed to continue it would almost certainly result in higher taxes, which would negatively impact on the poor wananchi. Surely, it doesn’t make sense for the poorest among us to sacrifice to give public servants more money.In addition, higher taxes would also negatively affect the business investment climate and would drive away both domestic and foreign investors, which is tantamount to exporting jobs.Clearly, exporting jobs to other countries when we need those jobs for our youth, does not make any sense. It is also worth noting that a rising public sector wage bill crowds out spending in such critical areas as health, education, security and infrastructure. These are critical pillars for sustaining and deepening our middle-income status. If we do not invest sufficiently in those areas, it is unlikely we can achieve our development goals under Vision 2030.Ladies and Gentlemen,The achievement of Vision 2030 depends on an efficient public service that serves citizens and their enterprises. Therefore, a well-managed remuneration and benefits system is an important ingredient in ensuring that our development objectives are effectively met. Such a system should address disparities and inequalities in pay regimes across the public service and halt the wage-price spiral. Best practice calls for development of a Remuneration and Benefits Policy to provide guidance in remuneration and benefits setting for the public service.I therefore welcome the fact that the Remuneration and Benefits Policy has borrowed best practices from countries such as Finland, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Rwanda, Botswana and Ghana. These countries recognize the pivotal role of objectivity and equitably setting compensation as a catalyst on the human capital that drives the systems and processes, service delivery, customer satisfaction and overall impact on the society.Ladies and Gentlemen,In fulfilment of the Constitution, my Government is committed to ensure that every public servant is fairly remunerated, as this is a key requirement of good governance and better service delivery. To ensure that all public sector employees are fairly, equitably and transparently compensated for their labour while ensuring fiscal sustainability of the public sector wage bill, the Public Sector Remuneration and Benefits policy will be guided by key principles: affordability and sustainability of the public sector wage bill; competitiveness of the remuneration and benefits for the job competencies and responsibilities in the Public Sector; promoting productivity and performance; and transparency, fairness, equity and alignment to the national development goals. Ladies and Gentlemen,I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to stakeholders to play their role in the implementation of this policy and also to participate fully in the Job Evaluation exercise, which will determine the value of each job. In that spirit, I also urge all of you to synergize your efforts under the guidance of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission to implement the policy and constructively engage in the Job Evaluation Exercise. The successful implementation of the policy and results of the evaluation exercise will determine effective management of remuneration in this country, which, as I earlier indicated, is a key factor in achieving Vision 2030 goals and the aspirations of our Constitution.Ladies and Gentlemen,In concluding my remarks, let me commend the Salaries and Remuneration Commission for the effort you have put in developing this policy; and in embarking on the job evaluation exercise for which I wish you the best.Finally, you can rest assured of my unwavering support in ensuring that our wage bill is sustainable, productivity is enhanced and above all, the standard of living of our people is improved.God Bless You. God Bless Kenya.