Njuguna Ndung’u, the Treasury Cabinet Secretary, gave teachers and politicians the reassurance that the government is nearing completion of the process of paying the 11,000 retired teachers who had waited 27 years for their pension.
The Treasury Cabinet Secretary informed lawmakers during an appearance before MPs that despite the government releasing Ksh16 billion in May to settle outstanding teachers’ pensions dating back to 1997, the monies were not enough to cover all claims.
Prof. Ndung’u reports that the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) submitted a total of 23,267 updated claims from 1997, out of which 22,317 have been handled by the National Treasury.
When asked how long it would take the treasury to send the outstanding balances, the CS begged for forgiveness and said it would depend on the availability of resources.
The payment of the claims is a complicated matter that is currently the focus of a judicial case. The fact that some of the retired instructors have already passed away complicates the situation.
Due to the government’s inability to pay their dues, another group of teachers are living in utter poverty.
However, the parliamentarians expressed doubts about the Ksh 16 billion remittance, querying whether it explicitly targets the pensions of retired people who were previously excluded or if it covers all pension payments.
The pensions for the retired teachers were finally secured in 2008 after a protracted court battle, but additional payouts only began to arrive this year, leaving some teachers still underpaid.
The cabinet has responded by promising to make good on all unpaid wages owed to teachers.
Teachers who retired after July 2003, however, are not eligible for these benefits because they had earned pay raises as part of the 1997 compensation adjustment, so it is vital to keep that in mind.
The initial plan was for the retirees to receive their benefits in five stages, with the last phase ending in 2001.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) came into a payment deal with the government that year, but only the first phase of the agreement was carried out.
Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Secretary-General Akelo Misori has encouraged Members of Parliament to put pressure on the Treasury to ensure that these payments are made in full.