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A-G is kenya highest paid public official

Prof Githu Muigai, Attorney-General

Prof Githu Muigai, Attorney-General

Attorney-General Githu Muigai will have earned Sh12 million more than the President in salary and personal allowances in the financial year ending next month, Budget estimates released by the Treasury indicate.

This makes Prof Muigai, who was hired from private legal practice, the highest- paid public official. The Budget estimates for 2013-14 show that Prof Muigai will have earned Sh39.4 million by the end of June while the total pay for both President Uhuru Kenyatta and former President Mwai Kibaki for the year ending June will be Sh27.2 million each.

It means that Prof Muigai’s total perks, as disclosed in the Budget Estimates, amounted to Sh3.3 million a month, similar to the salary and benefits of top chief executives of financial and telecom companies in Kenya.

The average monthly basic salary and personal allowances for the President has been Sh2.7 million, about Sh600,000 lower than the A-G’s.

By the end of next month, Prof Muigai will have pocketed Sh19.4 million in salary while both President Kenyatta and Mr Kibaki will have earned a total salary of Sh11.1 million. In terms of allowances, the A-G will have earned Sh20 million compared to Sh16.1 million for the President.

Prof Muigai appears to have benefited from the fact that he was coming out of private practice and the lecture room and would ordinarily qualify for a non-practising allowance as is the case for lawyers who enter judicial service.

Disclosure in the Budget estimates shows that a few public servants earn more than Sh1 million in gross pay. Allowances in the Budget are, however, estimates and may differ slightly from the actual amount paid due to the differences from actual exploitation of the opportunities that give rise to the benefits.

(Read: Uhuru rolls out Sh1.6 trillion inaugural Budget)

The Budget documents, however, show that the A-G will earn a total of Sh21.9 million in the coming financial year starting July, down 44 per cent on his current compensation.

It was not clear why the pay will come down in the next financial year by Sh17.5 million despite the Constitution protecting public servants from pay cuts. The Business Daily could not get comment from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and the Treasury by the time we went to press.

Prof Muigai has also benefited from the fact that the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) had stated that State officers whose pay had been set before the SRC was established would not lose it.

“A serving State officer whose remuneration and benefits were set for the position they are holding before the establishment of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), where such remuneration is above the set remuneration shall retain it,” SRC boss Sarah Serem said in a gazette notice released in March.

While Prof Muigai will enjoy his perks as agreed at the time of his joining the public service, any future entrant into the same position will have his or hers governed by the terms set by the SRC. For the position of A-G, future holders will earn Sh792,000 a month.

This will apply not only to the A-G, but also to others who were already employed in the public service and their positions did not fall vacant with the new government or application of the new Constitution.

The Budget Estimates show the current A-G’s pay will rise in the following financial year to Sh22.9 million – Sh1 million more. However, it is not planned to rise again in 2015-16 as it will remain at the level set in 2014-15.

Public servants’ pay has been the subject of debate in recent months owing to growing concerns over the huge wage bill. The public wage bill, at 12 per cent of the gross domestic product, is among the highest in Africa. The globally accepted standard is to have a maximum of seven per cent of the GDP as the public wage bill.

Wages are part of the recurrent expenditure which eats into development spending that is intended to spur economic growth. President Kenyatta has said several times that he is opposed to any increases in pay for public servants.

(Read: Uhuru sets the tone for public wage bill cut)

In the Budget documents, the pay for the Judiciary is only disclosed as a lump-sum for all the staff and that of the Chief Justice is not indicated separately.

However, as of last October, the CJ was among the top-earners at Sh1.27 million a month, including Sh782,220 basic salary, Sh100,000 house allowance and an entertainment allowance of Sh120,000.

According to a parliamentary report tabled last year by the then assistant minister for Finance, the Chief Justice also receives Sh185,500 extraneous duty allowance, Sh13,000 non-practising allowance, and Sh69,500 domestic staff allowance.

The same report shows that another highly paid public servant is Charles Nyachae, the chairman of the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution, who earned Sh1.24 million a month, inclusive of allowances.

Mr Nyachae’s basic salary stood at Sh849,360 and house allowance at Sh140,000. His monthly extraneous duty allowance was Sh120,000. He was paid a similar amount as entertainment allowance while his domestic staff allowance was Sh15,600 a month.

For MPs, the pay has been Sh851,000 but this has been reviewed downwards to Sh532,000 but with several potential allowances that raise the total perks to a higher level.

However, several of the allowances – such as House sittings, membership of committees and mileage – can vary. From the Budget 2013-14, the Auditor-General will earn a total of Sh9.1 million by the end of the financial year with Sh5.2 million in basic salary and Sh3.9 million in personal allowances.

However, the Auditor-General’s pay will rise to Sh13.6 million in 2014-15 – amounting to a 49 per cent increase.

The biggest increase is in basic salary to Sh9.5 million from Sh5.2 million, that is, by Sh4.3 million in a single year. This means that monthly basic pay will be Sh1.3 million from Sh758,333, making the office one of the highest paid in government. The Auditor-General’s allowances will increase to Sh4.1 million from Sh3.9 million, only about Sh200,000 more or Sh17,000 more per month.

The personal allowances of the former presidents will be Sh21 million by the end of this year but will rise sharply to Sh30 million in the financial year beginning July. This implies the former presidents will be paid Sh2.5 million per month in total allowances.

Medical expenses are also reimbursable to the tune of Sh21.2 million, up from Sh8 million in this financial year. In the case of the principal secretaries and Cabinet secretaries, the new remuneration to be recommended by the Public Service Commission will have to be harmonised with that set by the SRC.

Some of them who were previously earning – holding a similar position – above what the SRC has set will take a pay cut since their position fell vacant with the new government.

Those from the private sector will take an even bigger pay cut. SRC has set that a Cabinet secretary’s monthly pay at Sh792,000. A principal secretary will earn Sh655,875.

-Business Daily

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