ODM says government not serious with teachers’ pay demands

ODM says government not serious with teachers’ pay demands

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has asked the Jubilee administration to restore sanity in the education sector.

In a statement sent to newsrooms, ODM chair John Mbadi wondered why it is so difficult to raise Ksh 17 billion for teacher’s salary increment in the budget that is even bigger than the 2014/2015 financial year.

“If Jubilee considers teachers and education sector a priority, it would adjust the budget to accommodate salary needs,” read the statement.

Mbadi was referring to previous practices in which the government raised money for “critical causes”.

“In the last Financial Year the Government increased the approved budget for 2014/2015 twice in the year. The first adjustment saw the total approved budget increased by Ksh 50.5 billion. The second adjustment brought a further Ksh 193.8 billion increase. By the end of the Financial Year, the originally approved budget had been adjusted upwards by a total of Ksh 244.2 billion up from a total approved National Government Expenditure estimate of Ksh 1.18 trillion to Ksh 1.43 trillion,” further read the statement.

“The budget for the Office of the President was increased from Ksh 4.3 billion to Ksh 8.5 billion, Ministry of Defense increased by Ksh 5.6 billion, Ministry of Energy and Petroleum increased by 14.5 billion, Department of Interior rose by Ksh 18.2 billion, Department of Planning went up by Ksh 8.46 billion, and Department of Devolution rose by Ksh 7.2 billion while infrastructure went up by Ksh 9.8 billion, to mention but a few.”

Mbadi noted that the government was able to increase the budget by a whooping Ksh 244.2 billion in May and found money for it.

“A lot of that money was for recurrent expenditure. Out of a total of Ksh 17.5 billion in the first supplementary budget, Ksh 41.5 billion was recurrent expenditure,” Mbadi said.

On Wednesday, CORD leader Raila Odinga accused the government of failing to pay teachers in line with the Employment and Labour Relations court ruling made in June this year awarding them a 50 to 60 per cent increment and instead taking them through protracted court battles.

The ODM party leader accused President Kenyatta of dishonesty in his apparent refusal to pay teachers saying the government has enough revenue collection to sustain teachers’ salary demands.

“In 2012/13, the last year of the grand coalition government, our tax revenue was Ksh 807 billion, in the last financial year it was Ksh 1.16 trillion and it is projected to stand at Ksh 1.25 trillion this financial year,” he said.

“In the 2015/16 financial year, the country’s budget was Ksh 443 billion more than that of the grand coalition and yet the government is telling us that out of this, we cannot afford Ksh 17 billion for teachers, we disagree.”