Over the last few years, we have worked to build the foundation for a strong economy that will ensure creation of jobs for our youth and contain the cost of living to level acceptable to all Kenyans. The only way to secure that strong economy is to manage Kenya’s finances prudently, restraining our recurrent expenditure so as to enable us spend more on social-economic development programmes like education, roads, as an example. This means we must pay our public servants, yes fairly, but levels that will ensure we as a Country live within our means.
For too long, Kenyans had grown frustrated with the lack of a transparent framework for the payment of public servants. Labour disputes had proliferated and the wage bill had grown to unacceptable level. Some queried the rationale for the pay structure for some public servants, which appeared distorted and not in sync with the economy.
That is why our constitution created the Salaries and Remuneration Commission as the agency to advice how we could best create the framework to streamline public sector pay, to create fiscal space to finance education, roads etc, which are key to the realization of a competitive and prosperous Kenya, as enshrined in our vision 2030.
I am pleased that the Commission has now made its recommendations and I am today announcing my unequivocal support for those broad and far-reaching recommendations.
I am particularly pleased that the Commission recognized and provided three factors key to planning by any administration.
Details of the compensation which public servants can expect, both now and in years to come, so the Government can plan its finances properly.
A comparison of different wages of public servants to ensure fairness and that one group is not paid significantly more than others doing similar work.
Clear and transparent guidelines for testing whether public pay is fair, but not exorbitant, so that we avoid waste. As, I have noted, the money we save will be available to continue building roads and bridges and other infrastructure to strengthen the economy and provide more jobs for Kenyans.
What the Commission is saying is in line with what the Jubilee Administration has contended and embraced over time. Our agenda and plans have reflected this.
The Jubilee Administration has sought to guarantee fairness and transparency for paying public servants. But crucially, this has been part of our design to strengthen Kenya’s economy, to create more jobs and lower prices. Another key item on the Jubilee Administration’s agenda has been to answer the need to compensate public servants fairly, while managing Kenya’s finances prudently. In short, we sought a fair framework for public pay, which would also enable the country to live within its means.
As Kenyans we have a proud history of combating problems together, as one, rather than simply complaining from the sidelines. I call upon every Kenyan to support the Commission’s recommendations, and Jubilee Administration’s quest to keep the wage bill at sustainable levels. The days of wasteful allowances and peculiar but inexplicable payments are behind us. Better and more prosperous days lie ahead.
I commend the diligence of the Commission and Chairperson Sarah Serem. Your report will go along way in guiding and ensuring prudence in the way we manage public money.
In short, the Commission’s report settles these matters in the way the constitution envisaged.
Let me conclude by calling upon every public servant and state officer — and, indeed, every Kenyan — to support the work of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, and to abide by its guidelines. All of us in the public service must remember that this is a calling; it is servanthood not a business.
Thank you and God Bless you.