Rotich spells out austerity measures to cut wage bill

Bernard Gitau and Ann Nyathira @Peopledailyke

The government has proposed the freezing of employment in the public service save for critical areas of health, security and education.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, during the tabling of 2019/20 budget, outlined some of the government’s initiatives to contain growth of expenditure.

“We will restrict new recruitment to key technical staff, security personnel, teachers and health workers,” Rotich told Parliament.

He said the public sector wage bill continues to rise, leaving fewer resources for development.

“To contain the wage bill, I propose we strictly  limit the extension of service for the significant number of civil servants who are retiring after the age of 60,” he said.

Improve efficiency

With the expenditure on domestic and foreign travel growing due to frequent travels, the government will limit this by use of electronic cards system for all public officers travelling within and outside the country.

“This card would be pre-loaded with subsistence allowance to be expended by officers travelling on official duty on eligible expenditures only,” he added.

Rotich said the Cabinet is considering a new government transport policy that will standardise the institutional framework for fleet management and use of fuel cards in order to improve efficiency and cut cost.

“In addition, the policy will promote local industries by requiring that all government vehicles be procured only from local assembling plants,” he added.

On leasing office space, Rotich said the tendency of targeting higher than market rates has resulted into huge costs.

Root out ghost workers

“Beginning July 1, all procurement of office accommodation by government will be standardised with uniform cost leases and existing contracts will be renegotiated to ensure a standard rate,” he revealed.

The government will also cleanse the wage to root out ghost workers.

“Government will also fast track migration away from the current Integrated Payroll and Personnel Database System (IPPD) to IFMIS Human Resource Module to improve payroll management,” he said.

Rotich also said the government is on course towards providing an electronic end-to-end solution on all procurement processes.

“This will significantly enhance efficiency, transparency and accountability in procurement,” he said.

He added that this will further provide procurement audit trails, enhanced reporting and procurement analytics for better monitoring of the public procurement system, efficient and electronic archiving of procurement records and availability of online appeal and complaint mechanism, among others.

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