Backlash meets Uhuru’s move to take salary cut

Backlash meets Uhuru’s move to take salary cut

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga (2nd left) with Senators George Khaniri (left),Moses Wetangula (2nd right) and Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba (right) during the fundraiser for matatu accident victims at Musitinyi primary school in Vihiga county on March 8, 2014. The opposition leaders have dismissed the move by Jubilee leaders to reduce their pay. Cord leader Raila Odinga said it is impractical for a country to reduce its civil servants’ earnings without lowering the cost of living, while his co-principal Moses Wetang’ula wrote off the move as a gimmick. Photo/JACOB OWITI

In Summary

  • Cord leader Raila Odinga said it is impractical for a country to reduce its civil servants’ earnings without lowering the cost of living, while his co-principal Moses Wetang’ula wrote off the move as a gimmick.
  • Similar sentiments were made by Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba who said the move by the President, his deputy and the cabinet was a populist gimmick.

By NATION TEAM

Two opposition leaders have dismissed the move by Jubilee leaders to reduce their pay.

Cord leader Raila Odinga said it is impractical for a country to reduce its civil servants’ earnings without lowering the cost of living, while his co-principal Moses Wetang’ula wrote off the move as a gimmick.

“The President and his deputy have reduced their salary and want others to follow suit. But how do you reduce your salary when the prices of bread, rent and fare are the same?” wondered Mr Odinga.

The ODM leader said the cost of living goes hand-in-hand with the wage bill.

“If you want the public to take pay cuts, lower the cost of living, otherwise the whole idea is utter nonsense. Instead of telling Kenyans to lower their pay, just reduce their cost of living. Without that, it is utter nonsense,” he said.

Arguing that he did it right during his tenure as Prime Minister, Mr Odinga said there are better ways of managing the economy.

“There is a secret to managing the economy that the Jubilee leadership hasn’t known yet. (Former President) Kibaki and I succeeded; let them call us so we show them how to run a government,” he said.

Mr Wetang’ula wondered whether the pay cut was of any consequence.

HIGH COST OF LIVING

“Does (President Kenyatta) even know how his pay slip looks like? His every need is paid for by the taxpayer. What has he reduced, then?

Mr Wetang’ula said the Jubilee government has run short of ideas to address the rising cost of living and has now come up with tricks targeted at cutting the pay of civil servants.

“The 20 per cent pay cut move is a strategy to lay a foundation by the Jubilee government to have reason to cut the salaries of all civil servants. The two leaders will soon direct all government employees to follow suit,” Mr Wetang’ula, who spoke during a thanksgiving mass at St Anthony Boys Kitale, said.

Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa told the Jubilee government to remove Value added Tax on basic commodities if it really intends to address the high cost of living, saying reducing the salary of the president and his deputy has no economic significance.

Jubilee MPs and Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) however lauded President Kenyatta’s announcement.

Deputy President William Ruto who was in Nyeri expressed concern that a big percentage of the country’s resources was being used to pay staff salaries. Mr Ruto said the government had to take hard decision to ensure the country moves forward.

“If we use 93 per cent of all the resources we have on expenditure, then we have nothing to go to development and this is why we have to take hard decisions if we are to move forward,” he said.

Majority leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale, who was addressing journalists yesterday after marking International Women’s Day in Garissa Prison, also said he would reduce his salary by 15 per cent if Parliament fails to approve a bill that seeks to cut members to constitutional commissioners to three from nine.

“Kenyans want to grow the economy. They need hospitals, schools and roads. We cannot spend all the money on salaries at expense of development,” said the lawmaker.

MPs Kanini Kega (Kieni), Mary Wambui (Othaya), Thuo Githinji (Tetu), Esther Murugi (Nyeri), Peter Weru (Mathira) and Kabando Kabando (Mukurwe-ini) supported the Cabinet’s move.

David Ouma (Ugenya, ODM) said that as much as he was willing to take a 10 per cent pay cut, “there is too much ado about the wage bill” to the exclusion of other factors that can promote economic growth.

Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba too said the move by the President, his deputy and the cabinet was a populist gimmick.

PRODUCTIVITY

“What I would want is productivity. Even if they took a pay cut of 50 per cent but they still don’t do anything, it won’t matter. Let’s stop crying about salaries and the number of employees. What we must also do is cut corruption, cut red tape and make it easy to do business to create wealth,” he said.

Similar sentiments were made by Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba who said the move by the President, his deputy and the cabinet was a populist gimmick.

The legislator said the government wage bill was sagging because there was a duplication of roles in the administration of the county and national governments.

The leaders were speaking during a memorial-cum-fundraiser service at Musitinyi in Vihiga County in honour of the eight women who perished when 14-seater matatu overturned and burst into flames.

Reports by Walter Menya, John Ngirachu, Wanjiru Macharia, Philip Bwayo, Abdimalik Hajir, Winnie Atieno, James Ngunjiri, Derick Luvega and Elvis Ondieki

 

Comment:

If the economy sees an injection which amounts to $141 million annually, i.e. The annual savings based on a 20% salary cut, the conservative multiplier can be used to determine if this is in anyway beneficial to the economy as a whole. If we assume a conservative marginal propensity to consume of 50% and insert this into our formula 1/1-mpc=2, this equates at today’s exchange rate t0 Ksh 24,379.700,873 or approx. Ksh 24 billion billion.

The cost of the 50-km Nairobi–Thika superhighway, described as a source of “national pride”cost 24,219,986,680 or ksh 24 billion. Economic sense.

 

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