Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u on Wednesday assured teachers and lawmakers that the government is entering homestretch when it comes to clearing dues owed to some 11,000 retired teachers who are yet to be paid their pension 27 years later.
While appearing before MPs, the Treasury Cabinet Secretary told lawmakers that although the government released Ksh16 billion in May to settle unpaid teachers’ pensions dating back to 1997, the funds were insufficient to pay all the claims.
According to Prof. Ndung’u, the National Treasury has since received a total of 23,267 revised claims that have been reported from 1997 by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) out of which 22,317 have been processed.
When questioned how long it will take the treasury to remit the pending balances the CS, asked to be pardoned from answering that question stating it will depend on availability of resources.
Treasury CS Njuguna Ndung’u presenting the budget in Parliament on Thursday, June 15, 2023
Parliament of Kenya
The payment of the claims is a thorny issue and is currently the subject of an ongoing court case. What’s more, the case is complicated by the fact that some of the retired teachers have already passed away.
Another section of the teachers are living in abject poverty due to the government’s failure to settle their dues.
“I am ten months into this job, and I understand and agree with the urgency of the matter” CS Ndung’u said during the session.
However, the legislators raised concerns about the Ksh 16 billion remittance, questioning whether it encompasses all pension payments or specifically addresses the pensions of retired individuals who were previously excluded.
The retired teachers had fought a lengthy legal battle, finally securing their pensions in 2008, but subsequent disbursements only started arriving this year, leaving some teachers still unpaid.
In response, the cabinet has declared its commitment to settling all outstanding payments owed to teachers.
However, it’s important to note that teachers who retired after July 2003 are exempt from receiving these benefits, as they had already received salary increases as part of the 1997 salary adjustment.
The retirees were originally scheduled to receive their payments in five phases, with the final phase set to conclude in 2001.
However, only the first phase was executed, coinciding with the year when the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) entered into a payment agreement with the government.
Akelo Misori, the Secretary-General of the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education, has urged Members of Parliament to exert pressure on the Treasury to ensure the completion of these payments.
Teachers Respond to Court Order Suspending Strike in 2015