Salaries and Remuneration Commission SRC

 

 

Open. Accountable. Responsible


Contents
Introduction

Authority

To set and review the salaries of all public officers.

Roles and Functions

To regularly study market conditions and advise governments on the remuneration of public officers

Composition

Total of fourteen part-time Commissioners.

 

 Introduction

 

The SRC was established by the Constitution of Kenya 2010 by the people in their bid to harmonise the salaries of state officers in the context of fairness across the board, and "......(b) secure the observance by all State organs of democratic values and principles (Article 249 (1)). To properly carry out this mandate, the SRC must perform a social-political and fiscal balancing act. The Commission will be "expected to minimize disharmony in the public sector and encourage orderly wage and benefit negotiations." (Kirira N, 2011). It must not shy away from addressing the following pertinent questions: Whether to raise the pay of those it considers relatively underpaid or, lower the salaries of the overpaid; what fraction of national income should cover salaries; are State jobs able to attract and retain requisite talent, etc? These and many other questions inform the considerations that the SRC must give serious thought to as it deliberates on an acceptable and workable formulae for the salaries of State officers. Chapter 12 - Public Finance:

230. (5) In performing its functions, the Commission shall take the following principles into account— (a) the need to ensure that the total public compensation bill is fiscally sustainable;

 

Authority

 

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission SRC, is a constitutional commission established by Article 248 of Chapter 15 - Commissions and Independent Offices. Excerpts:

248. (2) The commissions are— (h) the Salaries and Remuneration Commission;

And Article 230 of Chapter 12 - Public Finance, Part 7 - Financial Officers and Institutions. Excerpts:

230. (1) There is established the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.

The SRC is the body to determine the remuneration of State officers. In this mandate the Commission acts to determine who earns what:

(4) The powers ...... of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission shall be to— (a) set and regularly review the remuneration and benefits of all State officers; .......

'State Officers' include those working under both the National and County governments, those in Commissions and Independent Offices and all those working in State organs. A section of members of the 11th National Assembly and some County Assemblies began soon after the March 2013 General Elections, a sustained public assault on the SRC, claiming unfair remuneration. Indeed, the National Assembly Member for Igembe South, Mithika Linturi, sought to disband the Commission through a petition to remove its Commissioners for 'incompetence and gross violation of the Constitution'. This petition was examined by the Departmental Committee on Delegated Legislation which in its report, sought instead to degazette the notice of the SRC of 1 March 2013 that set out the salaries of the members of the new Assembly. This report was also unanimously adopted by the whole House. However, this move elicited reactions of disapproval from the President as well as from the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution CIC. This push for higher wages fizzled out and was in September 2013 replaced by a new attempt to amend the Constitution so that Members (as well as several other State Officers), be declassified as State Officers ostensibly to place them outside the jurisdiction of the SRC with respect to their salaries and remunerations.

Soon after, the Members of the County Assemblies MCAs, took the cue and went into a go-slow in an effort to force the hand of the Commission using public forums to claim that the National Government and the Commission were frustrating devolution. The Chair of the SRC famously quipped on the 28th October 2013 that, "The success of devolution cannot be measured by how much money is in the pocket of the (MCAs) leaders......." (Sarah Serem, 2013). However, the Commission has not entirely escaped public criticism of lacking firmness and being slow to act in reigning in the bloated public wage bill especially when the Cabinet announced a freeze on new employment in November 2013. The SRC was portrayed as indecisive as there was no indication that the Cabinet decision had been made on the advise of the Commission. "....... the SRC should make haste with its new wage policy for the country, to ensure that it does not shut the gate after the horse of runaway wages has bolted." (Daily Nation O/Ed, 2013). 

It will be interesting to know however, why the Commission has established a harmonised salary schedule across Counties given that different Counties do not all have the same economic power, wealth, development and levels of production.

 

Roles and Functions

 

As a Commission, the SRC will align its recommendations with the New Constitution, with national policies, and with prevailing economic conditions: 

230. (4) The ..... functions of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission shall be to— (b) advise the national and county governments on the remuneration and benefits of all other public officers.

To do so, the SRC must regularly obtain and analyse accurate data on the output of every State officer, and for all to see, reward accordingly, those who are highly productive: 

(5) In performing its functions, the Commission shall take the following principles into account— (c) the need to recognise productivity and performance; and (d) transparency and fairness.

Obviously, the SRC must as is common practice, begin by taking an audit of all job descriptions in the public service.

 

Composition

 

Sarah Serem Chair of the SRC Sarah Serem Chair of the SRC

 

 

 

This Commission was among the earliest to be established after the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya 2010. Sixth schedule, Consequential and Transitional Provisions:

25. (2)The Salaries and Remuneration Commission shall be constituted within nine months after the effective date. 

As we have seen the Salaries and Remuneration Commission is an important commission that must consider the remuneration needs of all State officers spread across the country in various departments and organs. To do so effectively, the Commission must receive and consider the input of numerous stakeholders. This requirement is what informed the Constitution to provide for a large and widely representative membership in the SRC - made up of nominees from diverse constitutional organs, trade unions and employers, among other stakeholders and experts. In fact the SRC has one of the largest membership of Commissioners (fourteen of them) among all the constitutional Commissions:

(2) The Salaries and Remuneration Commission consists of the following persons appointed by the President— (a) a chairperson; (b) one person each nominated by the following bodies from among persons who are not members or employees of those bodies— (i) the Parliamentary Service Commission; (ii) the Public Service Commission; (iii) the Judicial Service Commission; (iv) the Teachers Service Commission; (v) the National Police Service Commission; (vi) the Defence Council; and (vii) the Senate, on behalf of the county governments; (c) one person each nominated by— (i) an umbrella body representing trade unions; (ii) an umbrella body representing employers; and (iii) a joint forum of professional bodies as provided by legislation; (d) one person each nominated by— (i) the Cabinet Secretary responsible for finance; and (ii) the Attorney-General; and (e) one person who has experience in the management of human resources in the public service, nominated by the Cabinet Secretary responsible for public service.

These part-time Commissioners will serve for a one-term period of 6 years from 2011 to 2017.

 

 

References:

1. Constitution of Kenya, 2010. National Council for Law Reporting. The Attorney-General.

2. The Salaries and Remuneration Commission Act, 2011. National Council for Law Reporting. The Attorney-General.

3. Njeru Kirira (2011). "Public Finance under Kenya's new Constitution". Constitutional Working Paper Series No. 5. Society for International Development, SID.

4. Website of the Parliament of Kenya. Retrieved May 2013.

5. Website of the Parliament of Kenya. Retrieved May 2013.

5. Serem, S (2013). Chair of the SRC. Speaking in response to the failure by MCA's to meet with the Commission. Citizen (TV) Live. Captured on the 28 October 2013.

6. "Cabinet freezes new employment to check wage bill". Daily Nation article of 22 Nov 2013. 

 

7. Kwame Owino, 2013. "Cabinet decision to freeze public employment shows the SRC is failing". Daily Nation Op/Ed Article of 27 Nov 2013.

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