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Public Service CS Moses Kuria during the burial of Pauline Njoroge's, popularly known as 'Mama Mboga', son, April 3.

Cabinet Secretary for Public Service Moses Kuria has called on Kenyans to end their silence on the fact that civil servants consume nearly half of the nation’s revenues.

The outspoken CS termed civil servants as ‘selfish’ for facilitating the high wage bill. 

Speaking at a press briefing in Nairobi, Kuria expressed his bewilderment at the persistently high wage bill, which currently stands at 43 per cent of revenues.

“This is a question of morality. It is a question of ethics. It is not even a question of economics and other high-value principles,” Kuria bemoaned. 

“It is a question of selfishness. How can one million people be so selfish?” he added.

At the event, held on April 12 at the Nairobi Safari Club, and organised by the Steering Committee of the Third National Wage Bill Conference 2024, Kuria questioned the ethical and moral justifications for such disproportionate spending. 

“How can you agree to shoulder the burden of one million people for so long? How can you allow one million people to gobble up all the money you make?” he queried the audience, emphasizing the urgent need for reform.

Kuria's remarks come ahead of the much-anticipated conference scheduled from April 15 to 17, which aims to tackle this pressing issue. The goal is to reduce the wage bill-to-revenue ratio to 35 per cent by 2028, potentially saving the country an estimated Ksh80 billion annually.

Lyn Mengich, Chairperson of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), echoed Kuria’s sentiments, highlighting the broader economic implications of such a reduction.

“If we can, for example, guarantee a Ksh80 billion to the Ministry of Roads year on year, then we could restart stalled projects that have significant multiplier effects on other sectors and improve the quality of life for our people,” Kuria explained. 

The call for a trimmed wage bill is not just about balancing the books but also for curbing unnecessary government expenditures. 

“We have to do something about our salaries, debt, and the mandazis and doughnuts we consume,” Kuria added, pointing out areas where fiscal discipline could be immediately applied.

Historically, the wage bill reduced from 57.33 per cent of total revenue in the 2013/2014 fiscal year to 48.1 per cent in 2018/2019, thanks largely to revenue growth and initiatives spearheaded by the SRC.

Despite these efforts, there is a consensus that more drastic measures are necessary.

Government data suggests that achieving a wage bill of no more than 35 per cent of revenue is critical and in line with the Public Finance Management (PFM) Regulations of 2015. by SAMUEL MWANAWANJUGUNA,

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