President Kenyatta Announces 12 Percent Minimum Wage Increase to Cushion Kenyan Workers

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday announced a minimum wage increase of 12 percent with effect from 1st May 2022, aimed at cushioning workers against further erosion of their purchasing power.

The minimum wage in Kenya currently stands at Ksh.13,500 since its last review in 2018, and the cost of living has increased with inflation ranging between 5 to 6 percent annually, the President said the Government has found it necessary to increase the minimum wages.

“In that regard, and in full appreciation of the critical contribution of workers to the economy; following the recommendation of various stakeholders; as a caring Government, we find that there is a compelling case to review the minimum wages so as to cushion our workers against further erosion of their purchasing power while also guaranteeing the competitiveness of our economy,” the President said.

President Kenyatta spoke on Sunday at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi when he led Kenyan workers in marking this year’s Labour Day.

The Head of State lauded the role and resilience of workers in bolstering the country’s efforts to bounce back and build stronger after the Covid-19 pandemic

“Our workers are the backbone of our economy and our way of life. Throughout the Covid-19 disruptions that began in the year 2020, our workers have kept the Kenyan flame burning bright. For that, we will remain forever grateful and indebted to them,” the President said.

On the global rising cost of living, the President assured Kenyans that the Government has taken sustainable measures to cushion the vulnerable, including the workers and farmers on the cost of inputs.

Citing the cost of fuel as an example, President Kenyatta said the Government has subsidized prices of petrol, diesel and kerosene making them the lowest in the region.

He pointed out that had the Government not protected consumers against the global increase in fuel prices, petrol price would have been approximately Kshs 173 per litre.

“But to cushion our people, the Government has had to pay Kshs 29 per litre as a subsidy. We have similarly subsidized diesel and kerosene. Currently, our diesel pump price is Kshs 125.5 a litre; the lowest price of diesel in our region and beyond secured by the government subsidy of Kshs 40.2 per litre,” he said.

Throughout the COVID-19 disruptions that began in the year 2020, our workers have kept the Kenyan flame burning bright

In this regard, President Kenyatta warned that stern action will be taken against oil marketers who sell the subsidized fuel outside the country.

He also asked the private sector, as key partners of the state in the economic development journey, to make re-adjustments that secure the elusive balance between profitability and sustaining the wellness of their labour force.

The President also pointed out that the various economic stimulus packages rolled out by his administration over the last two years have helped Kenyan families to cope with the challenges arising from shrinking opportunities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Unlike the private sector that declared redundancies that led to retrenchments, the public sector maintained its workforce at pre-Covid levels,” the President said.

He encouraged workers to embrace positive energy to continue powering the country’s development by building, believing and being champions of the Kenyan Dream.

President Kenyatta commended groups like the Jua Kali artisans on Ngong Road, Kamukunji and Kariobangi who came together to form a company worth Kshs 250 million.

He also cited the Government’s Kazi Mtaani initiative that benefited over 500,000 young people as an example of positive energy

“From the Kazi Mtaani initiative, 1,266 youth groups were organically formed. Of these groups, 1,025 have benefited from commercial loans and our affirmative action funds,” the President said.

The Head of State also appreciated Kenyan workers in the diaspora for remitting approximately Kshs 375 billion every year.

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