What Uhuru's 18% salary increase means for you

A shop cashier will at least take home Ksh29,170, while a night watchman will bag Ksh14,441.

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Critics, however, argue that the new directive to increase the minimum wages for low income earners by 18 per cent by President Uhuru Kenyatta is meant to bolster his re-election bid in the August 8 polls.

“We know that for two straight years we have not increased the minimum wage…after consultations with key stakeholders, I have directed that the minimum wage be increased by 18 percent,” said Mr Kenyatta.

But what exactly does the 18 per cent increase mean to you as a public servant, or an employee of a private firm?

Currently, Kenya’s minimum wage stands at Ksh10,955. The new turn, therefore, means that low income earners will take home Ksh12,926.

Ideally, the 18 per cent rise on the current minimum wage means that a house servant or cook working in the agricultural sector will now earn a minimum of Ksh7,324, up from the current Ksh6,207.

Due to the relatively higher cost of living in urban areas, city dwellers will now enjoy the highest minimum wages. General laborers in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu cities, will have a Sh2,000 increase on their salaries, and now will back at least Ksh12,927 a month.

Night watchmen will take home Ksh14,441, while a cashier will take home at least Ksh29,170. The President said the government had progressively increased the tax bracket to the current Ksh13,475 in an effort make the tax burden lighter for Kenyan workers.

Mr Kenyatta also exempted earners of Ksh13,400 and below from taxation.

“I am aware that the workers on the lower income bracket are struggling to afford basic necessities and it is not fair that they should be taxed heavily,” Mr Kenyatta said, adding that, “all people earning that and below shall no longer be taxed.”

Earlier, workers, through the Francis Atwoli led Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU), demanded a 22 per cent raise in minimum wage, without which they threatened to punish Mr Kenyatta in August polls with a defeat.

COTU Secretary General Mr Francis Atwoli told the press that Mr Kenyatta should review the minimum wage for workers.

“Inflation has been rising throughout this year; we have asked for a 22 per cent increase. Period.” Mr Atwoli said.

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