Support idea of single public sector payroll

Several state agencies have proposed the introduction of a centralised payroll system for public sector workers. They argue that that would help to weed out wastefulness resulting from irregular multiple payments and plug the loopholes that enable the recruitment of ghost workers. Instructively, a ballooning public wage bill is a major challenge for the national and county governments.

At least five public institutions are convinced that channelling the data of all government workers into one web-based system will introduce proper controls, instilling discipline in the use of public funds.

The manual payrolls still in use in some entities and other forms of payment have been flagged for the loss of public funds. Proper controls are also needed to deter the suspect hiring of workers that just increases the burden of the taxpayers while not adding any value.

The Human Resource Information System-Kenya (HRIS-K) should make a big difference. It has been developed to automate all human resource (HR) management functions in the public service and enable faster decision-making.

It is important that the Ministry of Public Service, the Public Service Commission (PSC), the Council of Governors (CoG) and the State Corporations Advisory Committee are among the organisations involved in what could turn out to be an effective transition to enhance efficiency in public wage management. The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) is hosting the conference to strategise on lowering the public service wage bill to the legal cap of 35 per cent of revenues.

This new initiative could not have come at a better time. Last year, the public sector wage bill was Sh1.1 trillion, or 48.6 per cent of the Sh2.36 trillion collected in taxes by the Kenya Revenue Authority. A single payroll for public sector workers is crucial as the national and county governments have breached their pay. This idea should be supported and quickly implemented to clear the confusion that some crooked officials exploit. A single manageable payroll can curb waste and prevent theft.