With several Governors heading home after serving two terms, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and the Council of Governors (CoG) are locked in a battle over retirement benefits.
Governors are pushing for a fat package that would see them enjoy retirement benefits similar to those currently enjoyed by retired Presidents and Deputy Presidents. Demanding the perks, the CoG filed a suit in June claiming discrimination, unfairness and inequity as they compared their packages to those enjoyed by retired state officers including Presidents, Deputy Presidents, Chief Justices and Parliamentary Speakers.
The CoG wants a lifetime monthly pension of Ksh739,200 and Ksh700,000 for Governors and their deputies respectively. They are also seeking a lump sum payment equivalent to their one-year pay. Governors in Kenya currently earn Ksh1,111,673 per month – a Basic Salary of Ksh583,628 and allowances totalling Ksh333,502.
The Governors also want to be entitled to a 3,000cc four-wheel-drive car, fuel allowance, a driver, a personal assistant and a medical cover for local and overseas treatment.
At the moment, Governors are paid a gratuity that is equivalent to 31 percent of the basic pay earned in the period they serve.
SRC estimates that the proposed package would cost taxpayers Ksh2.3 billion to implement in the first year. Opposing it, the body maintains that the proposal would upend the existing retirements structure for state officers.
“Besides fiscal unsustainability, providing pension benefits as proposed by COG would distort the retirement structures for State officers and lead to disparity in retirement benefits between governors and other State officers,” argued SRC CEO Ann Gitau.
Although MPs who have served for more than two terms get a lifetime monthly pension, state officers on fixed terms such as Cabinet secretaries and Principal secretaries are not entitled to a monthly pension.
The SRC observed that it struck a deal with the CoG in January 2020 to set up a pension scheme for State officers in county governments including governors and their deputies.