Kenyan government forks out USD450m to pay civil servants in a bid to end labour strikes before May 1st

Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wah, who chairs the budget committee in the National Assembly, presented the Supplementary Budget on Thursday.

Members of Parliament have awarded teachers, lecturers, doctors and the disciplined forces a total of Sh45 billion ($450m), a move that could see the ongoing lecturers strike come to an end.

University staff will get Sh5.7 billion out of the Sh45 billion for improved salaries.

The changes are contained in the last review of the spending plans - Supplementary Budget II, for the financial year expiring June 30, meaning the increments could be effected in May.

Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wah, who chairs the budget committee in the National Assembly, presented the Supplementary Budget yesterday which will regularise the spending changes.

“…the second supplementary budget is mainly a reduction across all ministries which seems to have been necessitated by low absorptive capacity and the need to contain the budget deficit,” Mr Ichung’wah said as reported by a local daily.

The legislator said the re-allocations were a result of poor absorption among ministries and a reduction of unnecessary spending.

Lecturers and other university staff have been on strike since March 1, demanding for the  implementation of a collective bargaining agreement that expired last year before full execution.

Currently, some 605 specialised doctors working as lecturers are on strike, demanding backdated salaries amounting to Sh800 million aligned with the March 2017 collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

To pay the civil servants the government has cut budget and shelve several development projects such as development of the standard gauge railway line and planned road construction projects to raise Sh34 billion, while another Sh7.7 billion has been taken from the allocation to counties' Equalisation Funds.

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