Gov’t says no money to pay teachers as pressure mounts

Gov't says no money to pay teachers as pressure mounts

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich has said that the government has no money to pay teachers the 50-60% pay increase awarded by the Industrial Court.

Rotich has asked the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to deal with the teachers’ salary impasse which has interrupted resumption of learning for the third term.

The Treasury boss said that the 2015/16 Financial Year budget did not factor in the teachers’ pay rise and the country’s wage bill is already ballooning.

His sentiments were followed by a letter by his Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge to the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) saying that the government is not in aposition to raise the amount required to give teachers a pay rise.

He further said that the government cannot borrow to finance the increment as the Public Finance Management Act 2012 prohibits borrowing to finance recurrent expenditure.

Treasury added that borrowing would also push the lending rates high and subsequently have an effect on the economy.

Rotich was speaking after appearing before the Senate Select Committee on the inquiry into the affairs of the troubled Kenya Airways.

Meanwhile, Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. Jacob Kaimenyi has urged teachers to go back to school and embrace dialogue over their demands for a pay rise.

Speaking in Nairobi during an education function at a city hotel, Kaimenyi said that dialogue is the only way out of the pay demands by teachers.

Kaimenyi is now urging teachers to ignore their union officials and re-open schools for the third term as the government engages them in talks to resolve the matter.

Elsewhere, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Secretary General Ababu Namwamba said he is disturbed by the government’s refusal to pay the teachers.

“The secret in education lays in respecting teachers,” said Namwamba. “There is so much lost through corruption and misuse of public funds, it is not true that the government cannot afford to pay them.”

Namwamba said that KCPE and KCSE candidates should be given special exams to take into account the difficulty and challenges they have been through.

This comes even as Trade Unions Congress of Kenya (TUC-K) Deputy Secretary General Charles Mukhwaya said the union fully supports the strike called by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers (KUPPET).

Mukhwaya said the government must respect law and order.

“We are only asking for Ksh 1.4 billion a month. That is something that the government can fully pay,” said Mukhwaya. “The government did not need a budget to bail out Mumias sugar. It is ready to bail out corruption but not ready to pay teachers.”

His sentiments were echoed by KUPPET Secretary General Akello Misori who said the strike that began in January continues today, Tuesday.

“There are no more negotiations. Teachers should not go back to school until the pay is implemented,” said Misori.

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Maureen Murimi
Story By Maureen Murimi
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