Kenyan President Raises Minimum Wage by 12%

With effect from May 1, Kenyan workers will enjoy a 12 Per cent increase in minimum wage after a three-year freeze in pay rise since the last wage review.

President Uhuru Kenyatta termed the move as an appreciation to workers for their critical contribution to the economy during the pandemic.

The pay rise takes the minimum monthly wage from 13,500 Kenyan shillings (about $116.5) to 15,120 shillings ($130.5).

The 12-percent hike in the minimum wage as the East African country confronts a surge in the cost of living where inflation hit a seven-month high in April.

Inflation reached a seven-month high of 6.47 percent last month from 5.56 percent in March and 5.76 percent in April last year, the statistics bureau announced last week.

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Officials say, this is mainly as a result of rising global fuel and food prices.

“As a caring government, we find there is a compelling case to review the minimum wages so as to cushion our workers against further erosions,” Kenyatta said at a Labour Day rally.

The pay rise, however falls far short of the 24 percent that had been sought by the Central Organisation of Trade Unions-Kenya (COTU).

Kenyatta said the high cost of living was due to factors “beyond my control like the coronavirus pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict”.

He lambasted rival political leaders seeking to blame the government for the economic woes, as the country prepares for a critical national polls in August.

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Although Kenyatta cannot run again after serving two terms, he has endorsed his former arch-rival Raila Odinga for the top job.

Last month, Kenya’s finance minister released a $28 billion budget aimed at helping the economy recover after the Covid-19 pandemic threw thousands of people out of work.

The country was also hit by a fuel shortage that triggered long queues at petrol stations amidst strict rationing.

Kenyans are struggling to cope with rising costs of basic goods such as food and fuel, a crisis worsened by the Russiqn-Ukraine war, while several parts of the country are also impacted by severe drought.

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