Coun­ties’ wage bill rises 33pc de­spite aus­ter­ity calls

Business Daily (Kenya) - - ECONOMY & POLITICS - Con­stant Munda [email protected]­tion­media.com

The coun­ties’ wage bill jumped by a third or Sh9.37 bil­lion in the first three months to Septem­ber, de­fy­ing calls for gov­er­nors to curb bal­loon­ing wage bills and free re­sources for projects.

Con­troller of Bud­get Agnes Od­hi­ambo says in her lat­est quar­terly re­port that salaries in the 47 coun­ties jumped to Sh37.13 bil­lon from Sh27.75 bil­lion in a sim­i­lar pe­riod a year ear­lier, re­flect­ing a 33.7 per­cent rise. that Nairobi County spent on its staff in the pe­riod, mak­ing it the high­est spender

Pay and al­lowances ac­counted for 72.84 per cent of the Sh50.97 bil­lion to­tal ex­pen­di­ture by the coun­ties in the pe­riod.

This is the high­est wage bill chalked by the coun­ties in the re­view pe­riod since 2013 when Ju­bilee gov­ern­ment took of­fice with a ral­ly­ing pledge to cut re­cur­rent spend in favour of de­vel­op­ment projects, which have a mul­ti­plier ef­fect on cre­at­ing job op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“Nairobi City County re­ported the high­est ex­pen­di­ture on per­son­nel emol­u­ments at Sh3.39 bil­lion, fol­lowed by Machakos and Nakuru coun­ties at Sh1.65 bil­lion and Sh1.48 bil­lion, re­spec­tively,” Ms Od­hi­ambo says in the re­port.

“Those with the low­est ex­pen­di­ture on per­son­nel emol­u­ments in­cluded Turkana, Lamu and Ka­ji­ado at Sh255.72 mil­lion, Sh192.05 mil­lion and Sh67.23 mil­lion, re­spec­tively.”

The 2,222 mem­bers of the County As­sem­blies (MCAS) spent Sh423.31 mil­lion in com­mit­tee sit­ting al­lowances, a 177.8 per cent jump com­pared to Sh152.39 mil­lion in the same pe­riod a year ear­lier when the coun­try was in an elec­tion mood. Ex­pen­di­ture on de­vel­op­ment projects, the re­port shows, was Sh3.51 bil­lion — mean­ing for ev­ery Sh100 spent by the coun­tries in the July-septem­ber pe­riod, less than Sh7 went to de­vel­op­ment projects.

The 72.84 per cent emol­u­ments share of the to­tal ex­pen­di­ture was only lower than in 2017 when coun­ties were not fully func­tion­ing.

Op­er­a­tions and main­te­nance took up 20.27 per cent of the funds, leav­ing a mea­gre 6.89 per cent for de­vel­op­ment.

Low de­vel­op­ment spend af­fects project plans such as health­care, water, waste man­age­ment and feeder roads — the key de­volved func­tions.

“A to­tal of 24 coun­ties did not in­cur any ex­pen­di­ture on de­vel­op­ment ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing the re­port­ing pe­riod,” Ms Od­hi­ambo says.

“Un­sus­tain­abil­ity of county gov­ern­ments’ wage bill is caused mainly by un­con­trolled re­cruit­ment of non-core per­son­nel with­out re­gard to ap­proved staff es­tab­lish­ment or re­mu­ner­a­tion guide­lines,” says Trea­sury sec­re­tary Henry Rotich.

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