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Treasury mulls options on source of Sh17bn for teachers’ pay

The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) urgently requires Sh17 billion to effect teachers’ salary increments after the Supreme Court ruled in their favour on Monday.

The commission needs a total of Sh72 billion to implement the four-year plan for the 288,060 teachers which has been backdated to July 2013.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary General Wilson Sossion said they don’t care where the government will get the money from.

He said all they care about is the implementation of the ruling of the court.

Mr Sossion said they expect the TSC to comply with the court order and effect the salary increase failure to which, he warned, would amount to contempt of court.

AUGUST SALARY

“TSC failed to factor the cash in the August salary increase as had been directed by the court. We are consulting with our lawyers for the next course of action,” said Mr Sossion.

He said their strike will still take off as planned and will only be called off after the commission pays the salary increases before schools re-open in September.

“I am properly guided on the issue of strike by the national executive that met a week ago. I will not hesitate to issue the strike notice,” warned Mr Sossion.

The commission paid the teachers their August salaries by Friday in what was believed to be a strategy to beat the Supreme Court’s ruling.

This financial year, the government allocated TSC Sh181billion with another of Sh2.3 billion for recruiting additional 5,000 teachers, an exercise that has already started.

At least Sh2.2 billion was allocated for the promotion of teachers in a sector that is still grappling with a shortage of about 80,000 teachers.

BUDGET DEFICIT

The government still faces a deficit of Sh570billion in its Sh2.trillion budget. The government says it expects to raise the money from external and domestic sources.

Statistics from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission indicate that the current pension liability stands at more than Sh900 billion and could go further.

At the same time, the salary increases could push the wage bill from the current Sh568 billion to Sh721 billion annually if implemented, and which accounts for about 52 per cent of the total revenue collections.

TSC also requires about Sh34.9billion to pay pension arrears and another Sh14.7billion to pay teachers who retired in 2003 following a court ruling in Nakuru.

The financial impact could go upto Sh150 billion if the teachers demands parity of treatment in the public service are implemented.

TSC is also facing the legal fee of Sh800 million for retired teachers’ lawyers for cases filed both at the high court and Court of Appeal. The money has been billed to TSC.

Last week, MPs indicated that they will be ready to support a supplementary budget to effect the salary increases, a proposal that has not been received well by National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich.

Mr Rotich said last week that the decision could affect other government programmes.