Nearly 40,000 public servants will lose their jobs as the government tightens the screws to tame the wage bill.
A job freeze will also be imposed as part of the governmentâ€™s drive to cope with the cash crunch.
Many of those who will lose their jobs are in positions made redundant by the Constitution.
They include members of the former provincial administration who are now in the interior docket and those in agriculture, health and devolution ministries (former local government) whose functions were devolved.
On Friday, Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru met the Council of Governors in Naivasha, on what she calls â€œstaff rationalisationâ€.
She said: â€œThe overall objective is to ensure that Government functions are properly staffed.â€
The plan is to transform the public service and offer effective services at both levels of Government, she told the governors.
A consultant hired by the government to carry out capacity assessment and rationalisation had recommended the retirement of 40,000 staff at a cost of Sh185 billion.
Those being asked to retire would be paid between Sh450,000 and Sh750,000 each as â€œgolden handshakeâ€.
The government has also announced that allowances for local out of station assignments will be stopped and foreign travel limited.
These are the conditions Kenya has agreed to abide by in order to get a bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund.
STILL ON PAYROLL
In a brief to the fund, the government admits that it has on the payroll staff whose positions were made redundant by the 2010 Constitution.
â€œWe will renew contracts of staff only in cases clearly identified in the new government structure,â€ National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich says.
The jobs likely to go are those in former provincial administration.
Under the new order, all district commissionersâ€™ titles were changed to deputy county commissioner while divisional officers became assistant county commissioners. The opposition and counties have opposed this.
Chiefs and their assistants, whose work is now being done by ward administrators under devolution, are also still on the payroll.
In what amounts to jobs duplication, counties have employed new staff to do the same work employees of the national government were doing.
The Union of Civil Servants on Friday said the retrenchments alone will not ease the cash crunch.
â€œThe government is focusing on the wrong place. Let them tame runaway corruption and misplaced priorities to which they have been allocating billions before daydreaming of sending workers home,â€ Secretary-General Tom Odege said.
He added: â€œUnless the government gives a very attractive package that would lure voluntary retirement, let them forget it. Workers have nothing to do with the current cash flow problems facing the country. It is the top dogs who are drying up the coffers with their expensive and unnecessary travelsâ€.
Mr Kenneth Okwaroh, the director policy and research at Africa Centre for People, Institutions and Society, called for a comprehensive plan to cut down the size of government.
â€œWhat I donâ€™t agree with is a knee-jerk reaction, suddenly retrenching people without a well-thought through plan. Government must work to moderate and rationalise public service. This requires a plan on how to generate decent jobs in the private sector so that folks can quit looking at government as the only source of employment,â€™â€™ Mr Okwaroh said.
The government must also be serious about corruption.
â€œIt is unacceptable that people are driven out of work to fill resource holes dug by corrupt state officials. We are now accustomed to the fact that nearly half a billion shillings will be lost annually through misappropriation or outright thievingâ€, says Mr Okwaroh.
Although the government has in the past denied plans of layoffs, demands by global lender IMF and recommendations by professional human resource consultancy firms indicate job losses are inevitable.
Last month, a report by human resources consultancy firm Ernest &Young had recommended the reduction of the workforce by 40,000 but Mr Rotich in his letter says an inter-ministerial committee would be formed to streamline this by the end of year.
According to the report the national government needs 53,766 workers while counties need 107,297.
Kenyaâ€™s total public wage bill â€” including ministries, departments, agencies, commissions, the disciplined forces and independent constitutional offices â€” is estimated at Sh568 billion or 11 per cent of the gross domestic product compared to the global seven per cent.
Kenya Revenue Authority is also in the spotlight since many taxable businesses donâ€™t pay due to inefficiency and corruption.
On Friday, ODM secretary for political affairs Opiyo Wandayi said Kenyans should brace for tougher times as taxes are likely to go up.
SOURCE: The Nation