Why doctors may wait even longer for the CBA to have a new 'signature'

Rotich told the joint committee that the 40 per cent offer by the president can be implemented. Doctors turned down the offer.

 

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich has broken his silence and told striking doctors to instead consider the earlier presidential offer of a 40 per cent salary increase. He said the presidential 40 per cent suggestion is implementable.

Recapitulating on the illegality of the 2013 CBA signed by Mark Bor, the former Health and Sanitation PS, Rotich has warned that anything contrary will have grave implications on the economy.

He has, however, proposed a new agreement be made, to allow its implementation in phases for four years. If doctors’ accepted the presidential offer, the lowly paid doctor’s salary would jump to Sh295,000 monthly, translating to Sh3.54 million annually.

On the other hand, if the highly touted 2013 CBA is put to use, Rotich said, it will drive the health sector wage bill up to a whooping Sh22 billion per year.

“If that CBA was to be implemented, what it means is that the minimum salary for an intern will be Sh295, 000. That moves the wage bill of all the health workers from today’s Sh9 billion to Sh22 billion. This will create disharmony and what will follow immediately is that all the other civil servants will come on board,” Rotich told the joint house committees.

Rotich argued that the implementation of such a CBA would further inflate the public servants total wage bill to Sh1.7 trillion, the total revenue plotted for collections by the taxman Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

He added: “Sh1.7 trillion is what I presented to Parliament as revenues that we will collect totally for the country. So what this means is that we will just close shop and pay salaries only with all the revenues that we will collect without doing anything else. That is the magnitude of the things we are talking about.”

Conventionally, for a country to realise its growth, the expenses should be or below benchmark’s 35 per cent of the revenue collected. An expenditure of more than that, according to the International Monitory Fund (IMF), would spell catastrophe for the economy.

Sentiments by the Treasury boss add more flesh to the earlier government’s spate that it cannot implement the doctors’ Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Earlier, the Ministry of Health through the Senate Health Committee termed the CBA illegal crashing the doctors’ earlier hopes in the senate to resolve the 82-day-long impasse, the longest civil action in the country.

Serial blunders

Early this month, the Cabinet approved a Sh100 billion budgetary increase to pay salaries for all Civil Servants including doctors from July 1, irking the doctors’ to push harder for the implementation of their CBA.

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The government has been blamed on the ongoing strike for dragging to involve the doctors in trying to resolve the standoff.

Rotich pushed the baton to the County Governments to handle the doctors pay issues, adding that the health function is fully devolved.

Critics argue that the devolution of the health function could be borne of contention between doctors and the Ministry of Health as the function seems overwhelming for the new county governments.

“The health sector is devolved and issues of health facilities in the counties, issues of equipment to improve the work place for doctors, those are continuous things to work on and it happens to every civil servant. Even in my office, I will not say that all my staff are enjoying a very good working environment but we continue to continuously improve the work environment for every civil servant,” Rotich told the committees.

Rotich also underscored the need for the doctors to take into consideration the advice of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission on the review and harmonisation of all salaries.

Rotich spoke in the footsteps of a Court of Appeal’s ruling on Thursday that extended an olive branch to the mediating team composed of Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) and Law Society of Kenya (LSK) giving them seven more days to bring the 82-day doctors’ strike to an end.

On Thursday, the mediators through senior counsels James Orengo (Siaya senator) and Orao Obura reported that progress had been made on a number of issues, but asked for the seven days to resolve what remains contentious.

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