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Ruto speaks for the first time on doctors strike with terse statement

With the strike well into its fourth week, a tough-talking President William Ruto made the government's position clear, insisting that the country will not borrow to pay salaries and

President William Ruto

President William Ruto has waded into the ongoing doctors’ strike that is in its fourth week, telling them off over demands for salary increment and interns’ allowance.

The President noted that these demands are unrealistic at a time when the nation is struggling with a huge wage bill that is at 47% of the revenue, way above the recommended 35%.

The President who spoke during a Sunday service at Eldoret AIC Fellowship church noted that the country can no longer spend money it does not have, reiterating the need to live within its means.

Living within our means

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He noted that of the Sh2.2 trillion collected every year, Sh1.1 trillion is spent on payment of salaries and wages.

“It is important for us to agree that we must live within our means. We cannot continue to spend the money we do not have,” President Ruton explained.

“Our wage bill is 47% of our revenue. It should be 35% according to the law. So we are way above. We need a conversation so that those of us who earn salaries are responsible. And we can reduce our wage bill so that we can free more resources to create jobs for our young people,” he said.

No borrowing to pay salaries

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He made it clear that the country will not borrow to pay salaries and urged intern doctors to be content with the allowance of Sh70,000 per month provided by the government, arguing out that the amount is only for a year before they are fully absorbed in terms that government has offered and at a reasonable pay.

“We mind them (doctors), we value the service they give to the nation, but we must live within our means. The resources we have are only sufficient to pay Ksh.70,000 for intern doctors. It is not a salary, it is only a stipend for one year then they will be employed,” the President explained when he addressed the ongoing strike for the first time.

An attempt to end the industrial action flopped after Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) rejected an offer made by government.

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The government invited all eligible medical student interns on April 2 2024 to pick letters, saying it would post all the eligible medical student interns.

The strike has brought untold suffering to sick Kenyans who have either been left unattended to or turned back as the tussle between the government and the unions continues.

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