President Kenyatta Announces 12 Percent Minimum Wage Increase For Kenyan Workers

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President Uhuru Kenyatta on May 1 announced a minimum wage increase of 12 percent with effect to cushion workers against further erosion of their purchasing power.

Noting that for over three years there has been no review of the minimum wages while 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.

Uhuru Kenyatta
Uhuru Kenyatta

“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.

While commending the country for remaining focused in the face of adversity such as the Covid-19 and the global rising cost of living, President Kenyatta castigated some political leaders for inciting Kenyans to blame the Government for the global challenges instead of offering solutions.

“Instead of coming out to offer solutions on challenges facing the country, you have made it your responsibility to go out there spewing insults which do not help Kenyans.

“Insults and empty promises will take you nowhere but hard work and the labour of your hands,” President Kenyatta told politicians.

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.

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.

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