Kisii Governor Arati denies claims 700 county workers have been sacked

Kisii Governor Simba Arati

Kisii Governor Simba Arati at the Kisii County Assembly during his State of the County address on Tuesday, October 3.

Photo credit: Ruth Mbula | Nation Media Group

Kisii County Governor Simba Arati has denied claims that several county workers have been sacked, even as he admitted that his administration is facing a ballooning wage bill.

According to Mr Arati, claims that over 700 staff had been sacked were premature as his administration was in the process of auditing its payroll to get rid of ghost workers.

"I must make it clear that I have not sacked anybody and any worker who didn't attend the headcount exercise has been issued with a show cause letter and should approach their supervisors to present their case," Mr Arati said.

Speaking during the State of the County address at the county assembly, Mr Arati said he had directed that salaries of ghost workers be stopped in 21 days.

He said there was a need to employ more skilled workers to improve service delivery but the county was faced with a ballooning wage bill.

The Governor said his administration was working to improve its own source revenue to reduce the wage bill percentage and was also in the process of cleaning the payroll and weeding out ghost workers as per the staff audit report.

He said the Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital (KTRH) has collected over Sh325 million since revenue collection was automated a year ago.

The automated revenue collection at the largest health facility in the county was introduced to reduce wastage and increase efficiency in service delivery. Digitisation is expected to be rolled out to all health facilities to plug loopholes through which the county loses revenue.

"This figure could potentially be higher once the digitisation of services in all health facilities in the county is completed," said Mr Arati.

He urged the assembly to support the executive in drafting new legislation to strengthen hospital autonomy and modernisation plans.

Mr Arati also revealed that plans have been finalised to acquire a modern and responsive Health Management Information System to move the hospital's operations to a paperless system.

At the same time, the governor said his administration had released 10 officials, including doctors, clinical officers and nurses, for specialist training in oncology and trained over 60 health workers in emergency obstetric and neonatal care to improve mother and child healthcare.

"We have deployed specialist doctors to sub-county hospitals and operationalised services such as dialysis in Nyamache sub-county," he said.

He warned that climate change has affected the quality and quantity of water in the county and there is a need to invest in new water infrastructure and upgrade existing ones to improve efficiency and climate resilience to support job creation, improve public health and enhance quality of life.

To boost banana and avocado production, Mr Arati said his administration would establish a mass nursery to produce over 1,000,000 seedlings and support the availability of quality planting materials at subsidised rates.

"We have set aside Sh50 million for the county's spatial plan. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has offered to provide technical support in engaging stakeholders across the county as we embark on this 18-month project,” he said, adding that the aim of the project is to provide a framework for coordinated development, management of urban areas, protection of fragile ecosystems and enhancement of food security.

Mr Arati said a further Sh20 million had been earmarked for the implementation of a Geographical Information System (GIS), which will be critical in decision-making affecting development.

"It will also support automation of revenue collection and other services in the county. Again, FAO is assisting in the establishment of a GIS laboratory," he said.