The seemingly relentless push for higher salaries and allowances by the political class has not endeared MPs, senators and MCAs to the public. Indeed, opposition to the pay bid by these leaders, who are already obscenely remunerated, cuts across party affiliation and other considerations. And it’s partly because these same people see the government’s bloated wage bill only in relation to others and not themselves.
County executives are courting similar public anger by joining in the clamour for higher salaries. Even more annoying is their attempt to justify this by citing their alleged productivity and performance. The reality is that counties have gained notoriety for inefficiency, corruption, wanton wastage of resources and outright theft under the very nose of these people.
The question that comes to mind is, where will the funds to cater for higher pay come from? Many counties are grappling with the burden of unpaid bills and, having failed to develop alternative sources of revenue, often remain in near-paralysis as allocations from the National Treasury do not always come in time.
There would be nothing wrong with paying the county executives more if they could come up with creative ways to boost revenue collection. This is a principle that works quite well in the private sector, where performance appraisals determine pay increment.
Part of the executives’ grouse is over the slashing of their pay by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission from Sh350,000 to nearly Sh260,000 a month last year. The decision was arrived at by meticulously reviewing the matter to ease the government’s financial burden. If they feel that this is not enough, they are under no obligation to remain in those jobs.
These frequent salary demands in the public sector are in bad taste. Priority should be on service delivery and not selfish gain.