Kenyan taxpayers are likely to cough millions of shillings in gratuity for Cabinet Secretaries who have served in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government as they are scheduled to receive Sh14.6 million each as send-off package.
Further, Principal secretaries (PSs) will also take home a handsome exit gratuity of Sh11.8 million each.
This means that taxpayers will carry a burden of Sh208.2 million to finance the sendoff packages for the 19-member Cabinet, and a further Sh365.5 million for the 41 PSs.
Members of Kenyatta’s first Cabinet who took oath of office in mid-May 2013, including Henry Rotich, Raychelle Omamo, James Macharia, Amina Mohamed, Fred Matiang’i, Jacob Kaimenyi and Phylis Kandie, will pocket Sh14.6 million each in sendoff package, while those sworn in in December 2015 following a shuffle such as Charles Keter, Willy Bett, Sicily Kariuki, Joe Mucheru, Dan Kazungu, Cleopa Mailu, and Mwangi Kiunjuri will get an exit package of Sh5.7 million each.
PSs including Belio Kipsang (Education), Joseph Njoroge (Energy), Mariamu El Maawy (Land) and Mwanamaka Amani Mabruki, who took office in 2013 will smile to the bank with Sh11.8 million cheques each.
The gratuity to CSs and PSs is premised on the fact that they are not entitled to pension. Each of them is entitled to a gratuity equivalent to 31 per cent of annual basic pay for every year served.
The packages will be paid regardless of whether they will be re-appointed to serve again or not.
“A State officer serving on fixed term shall serve on contract and be paid a service gratuity at the end of the term at the rate of 31 per cent of annual basic pay for every year served,” The SRC said in gazette notice dated February 2013, which set the pay details for the current administration.
Public finance experts have been pushing for a review of the gratuity model, due to the burden the taxpayer is left to carry.
A member of the Committee of Experts that drafted the 2010 Constitution, Bobby Mkangi said the SRC needs to re-look the gratuity rules to either make it a contributory scheme or reduce the percentage rate.
“The spirit of coming up with SRC was to try and make public office as cost-effective as possible. This is a heavy burden on taxpayers,” Mr Mkangi said in an interview.
“We should consider gratuity being pegged on the performance of the economy. It’s a debate that we should hold.”