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Government suggests eliminating hardship benefits in certain areas.

Government suggests eliminating hardship benefits in certain areas.

In places that it has since developed over time and should no longer be classified as hardship areas, the government has recommended eliminating hardship benefits.

Teachers in hard-hit districts are uneasy about a report that will be presented to parliament for adoption next week and that would evaluate the hardship stipend.

The Public Service Commission (PSC), Teachers Services Commission (TSC), Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, Council of Governors, Commission on Revenue Allocation, Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), Ministry of Education, Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Ministry of Public Service and Gender, National Treasury and Planning, Public Service Commission (PSC), Teachers Services Commission (TSC), Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, Commission on Revenue Allocation, Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), and Judiciary approved

The ability to halt the payment of hardship payments once the government has developed the areas is provided by the report’s classification of regions as experiencing extreme hardship, moderate hardship, and little hardship.

This came after a petition regarding the designation of Rachuonyo North Constituency as a hardship area was submitted to the National Assembly and read yesterday on behalf of a member of the public by the National Assembly’s Speaker, Hon. Moses Wetangula.

According to the petition, Rachuonyo North Sub-County has extreme poverty levels and has poorly attended schools with a serious staffing shortage.

In addition, even though teachers working in the nearby areas receive hardship payments, they do not yet receive them in Karachuonyo North.

The petition suggests that the National Assembly take into account the standards for identifying hardship zones in order to encourage teachers and improve education in those areas.

Members of Parliament (MPs) noted the need for a clear framework for the determination of hardship areas in support of the petition.

The places that the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) designated as official Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) and difficult to staff areas are as follows:

  1. West Pokot County
  2. Wajir County
  3. Turkana County
  4. Tana River County
  5. Taita Taveta County
  6. Samburu County
  7. Narok South and Narok North sub-counties in Narok County
  8. Mumoni, Mutito North and Tseikuru sub-counties
  9. Marsabit County
  10. Mandera County
  11. Lamu County
  12. Magarini and Ganze in Kilifi County
  13. Kwale County
  14. Mashuuru, Loitoktok and Kajiado West sub-counties in Kajiado County
  15. Isiolo County
  16. Suba and Mbita Sub-Counties in Homabay County
  17. Garissa County
  18. Baringo North (Tiaty East and Tiaty West and Marigat sub-counties)

As not all sub-counties in the mentioned counties are truly categorized as hardship zones, not all of the places in the list above are now receiving a hardship payment.
The following regions have been suggested for payment of the hardship allowance: Tana River, Taita Taveta, Tanando, Chonyi, Lungalunga, Suba, sections of Nandi, Samburu, and Kinango.

The World Bank requested that the Kenyan government abolish hardship benefits in order to save Kes. 3 billion and get the nation back on track after the increased spending brought on by the global coronavirus outbreak.

The World Bank stated that public employees who received generous benefits worked in regions that were once considered to be in hardship but are now developed and do not meet the criteria for the designation.

Part of the World Bank study on Kenya Public Spending Review said that the necessity for a review of hardship zones was due to the fact that some places had improved their infrastructure and social amenities over the previous 20 years and were no longer considered to be in such a category.

As the majority of teachers have already paid their bills, the shift would result in lower salary for them, which will significantly lower their ability to borrow money.

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