Sonko sets aside Sh1 billion to lure aging workforce into early retirement


Council askaris march during Mashujaa Day celebrations at Nyayo National Stadium. City Hall has set aside Sh1b for the early retirement of council workers.[File, Standard]
City Hall has set aside a Sh1 billion to lay off 70 per cent of its ageing workforce through early retirement.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko wants to put a leash on the enormous wage bill by dangling early retirement to any of the willing over 14,000 county workers who have attained 55 years.

So far approximately 1,000 employees have agreed to voluntarily retire on condition that they are adequately compensated.

“A big number of the workforce is aged and that is why we have set money aside to convince them to take early retirement. They will, however, do so at will and no one is being forced to retire,” said Sonko.

No more hiring

city boss explained that the lion’s share of the workers were aged 55 years and above and were either semi-skilled or unskilled.

A report by the county assembly’s finance and budget committee earlier this year also indicated that in a county that has more than 14,000 workers, 8,400 have bare minimum education standards and are unskilled and only 240 workers are professionals.

Consequently, it had recommended that the county avoid hiring and replacing staff until the expenditure on wages and salaries drops to 32 per cent in the 2020/21 financial year.

The report further noted that professionals only account for two per cent of the work force, inclusive of engineers, architects, and lawyers.

Sonko said the current work force has people inherited from the national government, those whose functions were devolved, and those who were newly employed by the former administration.

Retirement package

The county government plans to introduce a biometric data system to capture the details of both new and old county workers.

Sonko emphasised that the system would help flush out ghost workers, if any, and cut the amount that goes to payment of salaries, with the money being reverted to service delivery.

The Kenya County Government Workers Union branch chairman, Boniface Waweru, supported the idea of early retirement of members on condition that they receive their benefits.

He said given the fact that the set retiring age is 60 years, he was confident most of the members would accept voluntary retirement.

“It is up to an individuals to choose whether they will leave before they reach the age of 60, but I am positive that most of my members will take the retirement package on condition it is inclusive of their benefits,” stated Waweru.

Currently, the wage bill stands at Sh1.5 billion a month.


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