NAIROBI. – Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced a 12 percent increase in the minimum wage to offset soaring living costs.
This announcement on Worker’s Day comes a few months ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections.
Inflation hit a seven-month high in the East African country in April, mainly driven by soaring fuel and food prices.
“We believe it is imperative to review the minimum wages to protect our workers from further deterioration,” Kenyatta told a Labour Day rally.
The 12% increase, raises the minimum monthly wage from 13 500 Kenyan shillings (about US$116 ) to 15 120 shillings (US$130).
However, this is far from the 24 percentincrease demanded by the main trade union organisation COTU (Central Organisation of Trade Unions-Kenya).
The high cost of living is due to factors “beyond my control, such as the coronavirus pandemic and the Russian-Ukrainian conflict”, Mr Kenyatta said.
He blamed his critics – including Deputy President William Ruto – for the government’s economic woes ahead of crucial general elections in August.
President Kenyatta cannot stand for re-election after two terms but is backing his former rival Raila Odinga to succeed him.
The presidential election on 9 August is expected to pit two favourites, Mr Odinga and Mr Ruto. The vice-president was initially nominated by Uhuru Kenyatta as his successor but was eventually dropped in favour of the historic opponent Odinga following a deal struck in 2018. – AFP