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President to top pay list under new rules

Posted In NEWS, Politics - By admin on Monday, February 17th, 2014 With No Comments »
 Mrs Sarah Serem, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission chairperson

Mrs Sarah Serem, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission chairperson

A new salary structure has placed the President as the highest paid government official in Kenya while Resident Magistrates, Kadhis and Members of County Assembly have been ranked as the lowest-paid state officers.

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) with the assistance of PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) — which conducted a job evaluation for all State offices — has created 112 state offices, up from the current 50.

The commission has set the President’s salary at a maximum of Sh1.6 million. At one point, the head of the anti-corruption authority was the highest paid public servant with a salary of Sh2.5 million, higher than President Kibaki’s salary. However, the salary was reduced when Mr Justice (rtd) Aaron Ringera left the office.

On Sunday, SRC chairperson Sarah Serem said the current wage bill does not allow for any public or state officer to get a salary increment unless the public is willing to pay more taxes.

“We will only recommend salary increments once the current wage bill returns to normalcy,” she said.

Under the new structure, the President was placed at level G — due to his enormous work of being responsible for cross-national, regional and global strategy formulation.

The new grading structure has also reduce the powers of the chairpersons of the Parliamentary and Judicial Service commissions whose positions were initially graded as the fifth most powerful in the government pecking order. The two are now a rank lower and at the same levels as the heads of other commissions.

According to the SRC report, the role of the Auditor-General was not comparable to that of the Controller of Budget. The evaluators, therefore, agreed that the Auditor General be more powerful.

The evaluators also said there was need to separate elective positions from appointed one in the grading structure.

“It was noted that elective positions should not have any salary progression,” the report said in yet another blow to the perennial push by MPs to raise their pay.

It was also a big win for the Chief Registrar whose powers were increased to E5, making the job holder the sixth most powerful person in government service. The office holder will enjoy privileges accorded to the Controller of Budget, Members of Parliament and Deputy Governors.

Also it was a big score for the chairs of the electoral commission and the Constitution Implementation Commission, as their powers were increased to F2, which means they will enjoy privileges previously accorded to the Chief of Defence forces, Cabinet Secretaries, the Attorney General and Supreme Court judges.

Additional powers were also given to the commission secretaries who will be in the same level as the Registrar of Political Parties and other commissioners and vice chairs of constitutional bodies.

The report has also recommended that the position of Secretary to the Cabinet be graded at the same level as other Cabinet Secretaries. It also recommends that the Principal Secretary in charge of finance be graded higher than other principal secretaries.

Similarly, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission will be graded higher than other commissions because it has a more difficult and riskier mandate.
Although PwC used the USA and South Africa for comparative bench-marking, Ms Serem said the salaries of state officials in Kenya could not be at par with those of their counterparts in those countries due to the prevailing economic conditions.

In US, the President’s salary is set at Sh2.7 million a month against that of Kenya which Sh1.6 million. That of the vice-president is Sh1.5 while in Kenya, the Deputy President earns Sh1.4 million.

The salary of the US vice-president is nearly the same as that of the Chief Justice and the Speaker of the National Assembly. The Treasury Secretary is the highest paid among secretaries in US, earning Sh1.3 million.

The Chairman of the Federal Reserve (equivalent to the Central Bank of Kenya governor) earns Sh1.36 million per month. In Kenya, the governor earns Sh854,000. In the US, the chairman of the joint chief of staff (equivalent to the Chief of Defence Forces in Kenya) earns Sh1.5 million a month. His Kenyan equivalent earns Sh1.05 million.

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