Monthly Archives: February 2014

Trolebuses: Crece la polémica por la compra de Mestre en Rusia

Desde la Empresa Provincial de Transporte de Mendoza confirmaron que ya está en marcha la fabricación de 14 unidades cero kilómetro; cuestan casi la mitad de lo que Mestre pagará por los coches exportados. Negaron que funcionarios cordobeses hayan pedido cotización en esa provincia.

Trolebuses: Crece la polémica por la compra de Mestre en Rusia

Senestrari dijo que son siete los imputados en la causa CBI

Así lo dijo hoy el fiscal que investiga la causa de la financiera. Se realizaron allanamientos, los cuales fueron dispuestos con el fin de determinar si había vinculación con el dinero que manejaba CBI, que, según el fiscal, “no contaba con autorización del Banco Central (BCRA” para operar como una entidad financiera.

Senestrari dijo que son siete los imputados en la causa CBI

Anti-gay laws threaten EAC donor relations

A growling list of Western countries is reviewing their financial ties with East African countries. This follows the passing into law of anti-gay legislation in Uganda.

Anders Borg, Swedish Minister for Finance. PICTURE: JOHN MULALA/STANDARD

Anders Borg, Swedish Minister for Finance. PICTURE: JOHN MULALA/STANDARD

“We have liberal citizens in Europe who will be reluctant to have their taxes used to finance donor projects in countries that have human rights abuses,” said Anders Borg, the Swedish Minister for Finance.

He spoke yesterday at the Swedish Embassy in Nairobi, describing the Uganda Government’s action as a mistake.

Borg, a self-confessed heterosexual, said the Swedish Government would be reviewing its financial ties with the Kampala so as to minimise what he described as “reputation risks”.

Borg has served as the Swedish Minister of Finance since 2006. In 2011, Financial Times ranked him the best European Finance Minister. He was on a five-day visit in East Africa, which ended in Nairobi yesterday against a background of strong economic development in East Africa and growing interest from Swedish industry.

“Africa now has five of the fastest growing economies in the world, with rates of  seven per cent and above. There is great potential in Uganda’s agribusiness, reforms in Rwanda that makes it easy to do business, while improvements at the Mombasa port will have significant impact on the regional East African economy,” said Borg.

Sweden’s visit to Kenya comes at a time when trade delegations from the US, UK and Germany have already made their presentations, looking for opportunities in the country’s nascent mining, oil and energy sectors.

During the two-day visit to Kenya, Borg met Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, Central Bank of Kenya Governor Njuguna Ndung’u and representatives of international financial institutions and the private sector.

Available figures indicate that Swedish exports to Kenya were valued at Sh6.3 billion in 2012, while imports from Kenya stood at Sh4.9 billion.

Kenya imports telecommunications equipment, paper, machinery, manufactured products, medical equipment and vehicles. It exports coffee, cut flowers, fruits and vegetables.

By Jackson Okoth, The Standard

Anti-gay laws threaten EAC donor relations

How Kibaki-Odinga’s coalition fueled the bloated wage bill

Kenya’s coalition politics are largely to blame for huge spending by government on employees. The coalition formed early 2008 saw huge growth in public sector wage bill, which increased by 100 per cent between 2008 and 2013.

Kibaki-OdingaThis was been worsened by theagitation for higher pay by trade unions. These moves have increased the public sector wage bill to Sh458 billion in 2012/2013 financial year. It is expected to reach Sh521 billion this financial year.

Prior to this, the country’s public wage had been contained, following the unpopular structural adjustment programmes that retrenched  public employees. But after former president Mwai Kibaki office in 2002, government employees started going up, especially after 2004.

During the five years to 2013, the wage bill doubled, growing from Sh240.5 billion in 2008/09 financial year to Sh458 billion in 2012/2013.

This was on the back of each side of the political divide pushing to have their own occupying some office. The fight also saw the cabinet reach 40 ministries, some of them departments hived off from ministries as the leaders clamoured to create room for their cronies.

Sector reforms

“In the 1990’s, the central government wage bill as a percentage of GDP was about nine per cent,” said a January report by the Kenya Institute of Public Policy Research and Analysis (Kippra). “This figure dropped to seven per cent following the implementation of the Public Sector Reform Programme in the late 1990s up to 2001.” Treasury expects salaries paid to Government employees to reach Sh521 billion this financial year. This is three times more than what the public wage was in 2004 — at Sh166.29 billion, according to data by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

The public sector employee count stands at over 655,000, up from what was seen as a manageable figure of about 190,000 in 2002. The government as an employer accounts for 19 per cent of formal sector employment in Kenya.

During former President Kibaki’s first years in office, there were half-hearted attempts to tame the wage bill. These entailed voluntary early retirements – a sort of continuation of the SAPs – that had aimed to reduce public employees by about 21,000.  This would have brought the employee count to about 170,000.

This however never happened. Political patronage in public sector employment took centre stage. “The gains from the (public sector) reforms including reduction in the wage bill were however, short-lived as a result of inadequate ownership,” said the report. “From 2004, the public wage bill trend started increasing due to the expansion of the public service. It is estimated that the wage bill has steadily risen to over Sh500 billion in year 2013/14, which is 12.5 per cent of the GDP.”

According to a new report by the Transition Authority (TA), in addition to power sharing, employee unions push for increased pay for their members also share the blame in driving up the wage bill to unsustainable levels.

Pay hike

The teachers unions have with vigour pushed for more pay as well as the honouring of promises made during the Moi era.

While the Teachers Service Commission may not have yielded to all their demands, some level of compromise has always been reached, increasing the wage bill. Teachers account for 40 per cent of the 650,000 government employees.

“Trade unions play a crucial role in pushing up the public sector wage bill. The Kenya National Union of Teachers and the University Academic Staff Union have been instrumental in negotiating for wage increases for their members and their hard line stance has on several occasions, forced the government to review their members’ salaries upwards,” said TA in a position paper.

“The Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union has also been very instrumental in pushing for salary increments for its members.

By Macharia Kamau, The Standard

How Kibaki-Odinga’s coalition fueled the bloated wage bill