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Broke UoN bans office tea, photocopy as cash crunch bites

A prevailing cash crunch has seen the University of Nairobi cut down on tea and photocopy in tough austerity measures to stay afloat.

In a raft of proposals, the university has restricted tea to the Senate, which normally consists the vice-chancellor (VC), deputy VCs, principals of constituent colleges, deans and chairpersons of the teaching departments.

“Print on both sides of the paper, use email, print only when necessary, make meeting short, remove tea and snacks in meetings except Senate,” reads a notice outlining the austerity measures.

The university said it received Sh391 million from the Treasury for the payment of its 4,945 workers against a need of Sh870 million, leaving it with a deficit of Sh500 million.

PARALLEL PROGRAMMES

Lower entry grade cut the institution’s student population by 30,348 with the lucrative parallel degree hardest hit, further worsening the cash flow.

Following the financial challenges, vice-chancellor Peter Mbithi said the institution would reduce critical staff working beyond retirement age, shed half of the workers on contract and will not replace those who retire.

“Stop all overtime payments, only permitted in exceptional cases with justification and on a case by case basis for each occurrence.

“Rationalise staff workload across the board for maximum efficiency and ensure non-replacement of retired staff,” read the notice.

RELOCATE

Further austerity measures include enforcement of joint water meter reading, reduction of fuel cards allocation and staff to relocate to the university space (UoN Tower) from leased premises.

The drop in candidates that meet the C+ cut-off grade for admission also hit private universities hard.

Kenya Methodist University in March said it would sell a prime office block in Nairobi to clear a Co-operative Bank loan, tax and staff dues.

In January, the Catholic University of Eastern Africa placed its three-floor Kisumu campus property on sale, a month after it halted business to cut expenses.