The new board has ordered a two-week audit at the troubled Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA), which will result in laying off at least 200 contract employees as from July 1, 2023.
Felix Koskei, the Chief of staff and Head of the Public Service, made the announcement to the KEMSA staff on Thursday. He stated that the institution, which has been plagued by graft allegations, needed to cut down on its operations.
Koskei stated that audits of public institutions would be conducted in an effort to curb the bloated wage bill, which now consumes more than 60% of the budgeted money for the national government.
“We want to optimize the use of funds for the development of this country. Otherwise, all the money will end up in the pockets of our employees, and progress will be hindered. The government has identified this issue,” he stated.
The number of employees to be dismissed from July 1 accounts for approximately half of the contract workers at KEMSA.
Koskei who spoke on Thursday during a meeting at the Kemsa Ultra modern warehouse in Embakasi emphasized that other public institutions with an excessive workforce will also be affected.
“Many institutions, particularly parastatals, have realized that they have more staff than necessary. Ideally, a wage bill should be 40 percent or below. However, when it exceeds 60 percent, 65 percent, or 70 percent, there is little left for development,” he noted.
KEMSA has recently been involved in various scandals, including the COVID-19 procurement scandal, resulting in the loss of billions of shillings.
Other scandals, such as the mosquito nets tender scandal costing over Ksh.63 million, led to the dismissal of Health Principal Secretary Josephine Mburu, the suspension of former CEO Terry Kiunge, and the dissolution of the previous board.
The Head of Public Service assured that mechanisms are in place to apprehend those involved in corrupt practices within the institution.
“There are no sacred cows, no protection from above. If you engage in corruption, you are on your own. Individuals are accountable, not institutions, groups, or departments. You will face consequences,” he emphasized.
PS State Department of Medical Services Harry Kimtai, KEMSA chair Irungu Nyakera, and KEMSA acting CEO Andrew Mulwa were present at the event.