In October last year the Salaries and Remuneration Commission engaged the services of PriceWaterHouseCoopers to carry out a series of job evaluations for positions created under the Constitution. The aim of this exercise was to evaluate these jobs and determine the comparable worth of the offices and produce a rationalized, harmonized, defensible and equitable grading remuneration structure for state officers.
In February this year the Salaries and Remuneration Commission proposed a remuneration breakdown for the top 3,600 State officers – including Governors, Senators and Members of Parliament. According to the Commission’s proposals Cabinet Secretaries, will earn a minimum of Sh792,000 and a maximum of Sh1.06m. Governors will earn Sh640,681, while MPs, senators, women representatives will earn with Sh532,500 monthly.
However it seems while the nation was collectively focused on Supreme Court Presidential Petition some of the newly elected State officials, Governors and MPs, were making a bid for a salary increase.
Governors Isaac Ruto and Prof Paul Chepkwony have demanded a review of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission’s recently gazetted salary proposals.
Governor Isaac Ruto has argued against Commission’s proposed salary structure stating that Governors should receive a higher salary than cabinet secretaries based on the fact that governors are higher ranked, and represent a greater portion of the population. He is quoted as stating “It’s unfair that senators and women representatives who had to traverse six constituencies during their campaigns and represent more people in Parliament have to earn the same amount as Members of the National Assembly who only represent one constituency.”
It is not just governors who want higher pay MPs are demanding a salary bump to, and according to the papers have a set in motion a plan to get their salaries increased. The Parliamentary Service Commission, the body that represents interests of MPs, is already in discussion with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission to find out if this can be done.
Salaries of high-ranking elected state officials has always been an issue of contention between the electorate and elected. The elected think that their salaries should be higher while the electorate think salaries of the elected should be less.
Against wishes of the electorate, elected state officials and MPs in particular, have always had as their first order of business to increase their salaries. It is no wonder that our MPs were amongst the highest paid in the world or that our country’s wage bill is unsustainable or that state officers cost the country 14.73 billion shillings in basic pay.
The new proposals for remuneration of state officers by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission are supposed to correct this. With the increase of elected and nominated state officers – instead of just MPs, we now have MPs, Governors, Senators, Ward Representative – a whole other layer of government that taxpayers has been added, and it is crucial that salaries are carefully regulated, to ensure those taxed with paying state officers, i.e. the citizens are not overburdened.