Steering committee convenes the third national wage bill conference

By Anthony Mwangi, Safi Godana and Stephen Oinga


The Third National Wage Bill Conference (NWBC), held from 15 to 17 April 2024, at the Bomas of Kenya, unveiled a robust plan aimed at managing the public wage bill. The NWBC resolutions emphasised on the government’s commitment to achieving a wage-bill-to-revenue ratio of not more than 35 per cent by 2028.

The conference drew a distinguished assembly of hundreds of delegates comprising national and county government leaders, private sector representatives, civil society organizations, among other institutions.

Of primary importance was the impressive turnout of high-profile leaders, led by H.E. the President Dr. William Ruto. Others included, Hon. Rigathi Gachagua, Deputy President; Hon. Musalia Mudavadi, Prime Cabinet Secretary; Anne Waiguru, Chairperson, Council of Governors; among several other county governors and leadership in public institutions.

Lyn Mengich, Chairperson, SRC, noted that the presence of such high-level delegates signed the government’s dedication and commitment to tackling the pressing issue of the public wage bill.

The three-day conference, which was organised by a Steering Committee comprising; Lyn Mengich, Chairperson, SRC; Hon. Mutahi Kahiga, Governor, Nyeri County and the Chairperson, Human Resource, Labour and Social Welfare, Council of Governors (COG); CPA. Kithinji Kiragu, Chairperson, Inter-Governmental Relations Technical Committee.

Other Steering Committee members include; Amos N. Gathecha, Principal Secretary, State Department for Public Service; Veronica M. Nduva, Principal Secretary, State Department for Performance and Delivery; Philip Mongóny, Chairperson, State Corporations Advisory Committee; and Amb. Anthony Muchiri, Chairperson, Public Service Commission.

The delegates were tasked to carry the torch and implement the resolutions towards attaining the 35 per cent target. Several high-level presentations and remarks were delivered by subject matter experts during the plenary and caucus sessions.

The target will be achieved within a framework of a whole-of-government and multi-disciplinary approach. In his address, President Ruto called on the conference delegates to implement the resolutions.

The conference, which was beamed Live for three days on social media to allow thousands more to tune in, was also covered prominently by a large battery of mainstream and digital media. KBC covered the conference LIVE. The wage bill conference was the hot topic of the town during that week.

The broad objective of the conference was to engage stakeholders in discussions and recommendations towards achieving the Public Finance Management Act, 2012, and Regulations, 2015, threshold of 35 per cent wage-bill-to-revenue ratio, at both the national and county government levels.

The specific objectives, which were realised at the conference, were; to identify strategies that facilitate the national and county governments to achieve the ideal wage bill to revenue ratio of 35 per cent by 2028; and explore the role of productivity mainstreaming in improving the wage bill to revenue ratio.

Other objectives include, to; evaluate the role of technology and innovation in payroll management and service delivery; assess the divergence between approved staff establishment versus optimal levels for efficiency in public service and wage bill sustainability; and; share experiences from the private sector and other jurisdictions and draw lessons in productivity improvement in the public service.

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