Government Proposes Scrapping of Hardship Allowances in These Areas
The government has proposed scrapping hardship allowances in areas that it has since developed over time and should no longer be categorized as hardship areas.
A report to do a review on hardship allowance is set to be tabled in parliament for adoption in the coming week and has unsettled teachers in hardship areas.
Representatives from the Ministries of Public Service and Gender, the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, the Ministry of Education, the National Treasury and Planning, the Public Service Commission (PSC), the Teachers Services Commission (TSC), the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the Council of Governors, Commission on Revenue Allocation, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and the judiciary approved the scrapping of the hardship allowances in some areas across the country.
In the report, regions are categorized as extreme hardship, average hardship and minimal hardship and this is what gives the opportunity to stop payment of hardship allowances once the government has developed the areas.
This was after a petition was lodged in the National Assembly and was read by the National Assembly’s Speaker Hon. Moses Wetangula yesterday on behalf of a member of the public on the gazettement of Rachuonyo North Constituency as a hardship area.
The petition asserted that Rachuonyo North Sub-County has dire poverty levels and that schools in the area are severely understaffed with low pupil attendance.
In addition, teachers in Karachuonyo North are not yet receiving hardship allowances despite teachers serving in the neighbouring areas receiving hardship benefits.
To motivate teachers and boost education in hardship areas, the petition proposes that the National Assembly considers the criteria for determining hardship areas,
In support of the petition, Members of Parliament (MPs) observed the need for there to be a clear guideline regarding the determination of hardship areas.
The following are the areas that the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) listed as the official Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) and hard-to-staff areas:
- West Pokot County
- Wajir County
- Turkana County
- Tana River County
- Taita Taveta County
- Samburu County
- Narok South and Narok North sub-counties in Narok County
- Mumoni, Mutito North and Tseikuru sub-counties
- Marsabit County
- Mandera County
- Lamu County
- Magarini and Ganze in Kilifi County
- Kwale County
- Mashuuru, Loitoktok and Kajiado West sub-counties in Kajiado County
- Isiolo County
- Suba and Mbita Sub-Counties in Homabay County
- Garissa County
- Baringo North (Tiaty East and Tiaty West and Marigat sub-counties)
However, not all areas in the list above areas are currently enjoying hardship allowance since not all sub-counties in the listed counties are actually categorized as hardship areas.
The areas that have been recommended for hardship allowance payment are Nyando, Chonyi, Lungalunga, Suba, parts of Nandi, parts of Samburu and Kinango, Tana River and Taita Taveta.
The World Bank asked the Kenyan Government to scrap hardship allowances to save Kes. 3 billion as part of reducing costs in order to return the country on track after the increased spending occasioned by the global coronavirus pandemic.
The World Bank argued that public officers who enjoyed hefty allowances are working in areas categorized as hardship decades ago but have since been developed and they no longer qualify for the hardship tag.
“The review of hardship zones is needed as several regions have developed their infrastructure and social amenities over the last two decades and are no longer classified hardship areas,” read part of the World Bank report on Kenya Public Expenditure Review.
The move will mean a reduction in teachers’ earnings with most teachers already having committed their payslips and this will drastically reduce their borrowing power.