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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Cabinet, principal secretaries to lose power to fix aides’ pay

A Cabinet meeting at State House,  Nairobi.   --  FILE PHOTO | NMG A Cabinet meeting at State House, Nairobi. -- FILE PHOTO | NMG 
Cabinet and principal secretaries will be stripped of powers to hire and fix the pay of their personal assistants if a new set of regulations is adopted.
The proposals state that hiring of their personal assistants or aides will be done by the Public Service Commission (PSC), which will also set their salaries.
Ministers and PSs have had a free hand in hiring the aides, normally friends and cronies, and burdening taxpayers with their unregulated pay.
“The commission may, upon request, appoint a personal assistant for Cabinet Secretary,” the PSC chairperson Margaret Kobia says in the proposed regulations, which are currently the subject of public debate.
For principal secretaries, the commission will source for a personal assistants from among workers already employed in the civil service.
“The terms and conditions of service for personal assistants shall be determined by the commission,” adds Prof Kobia.
Curb staff costs
The decision by the PSC to limit appointment of taxpayer-funded aides could be seen as a strategy to curb staff costs.
Kenya’s public wage bill stands at Sh627 billion a year, gobbling up half of government tax receipts and employing 700,000 civil servants who account for only two per cent of the population.
The PSC regulations also state that the hiring of personal staff for President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto and former presidents Mwai Kibaki and Daniel arap Moi will be done by the commission.
They include secretaries, drivers, cooks, personal assistants, health fitness instructors, housekeepers, gardeners and laundry persons.
The top officials have had a free hand in picking their assistants.

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