The constitution allows for a minimum of 14 ministries and maximum of 22 to form the part of the Cabinet.
It appears the new administration has decided to go with the maximum number of the ministries despite growing concerns of about the about the government wage bill. According to an Article in the Standard the current government wage bill takes up to 12%-13% of the countries GDP, state officers’ wage bill accounts for about 3% of the total public wage bill and 97% of the wage bill is accounted for by other segments of the public service.
Last week shortly after the election the Finance Minister Njeru Githae was quoted as having stated that, “as a country, we have an important task of ensuring that the public sector wage bill is not too large relative to the country’s entire income. If the wage bill becomes too large it will place a huge burden to the National Exchequer resources and weakens our national competitiveness—something that we have been trying to improve over the last decade or so,”
Yesterday the President Elect Uhuru Kenyatta declared the government’s wage bill unsustainable and hinted at possible cuts and salary freezes highlighting that as a country, “we need to focus on this issue of an unsustainable wage bill, we must address it and align the rates with the level of our economy.” The Deputy President-elect William Ruto is also quoted as saying that Kenya lags behind in development because development funds are used to pay excess wages that do not generate income.
However it appears that in spite of the growing concern about the government wage bill. The government has decided to have the maximum number of the ministries. Yesterday the Head of the Public Service, Mr. Francis Kimemia, announced that the new cabinet would be made of 22 ministries. As the reason for the decision to have the maximum number of ministries he stated that, minimum 14 ministries was not possible because of the size of the economy,” and that “we need a government that will provide services to all, separate power, that will be innovative and at the same time remain lean.”
Ministries are not cheap and the more ministries the country has the more expensive it is for the tax-payer. Considering that the government already has several new layers centered on bringing services closer to the people are 22 ministries really necessary? Thoughts?