Murang’a County govt says it has no money to hire health workers full-time

By: FAITH NYAMAI

Murang’a County has no money to permanently employ 177 health workers engaged under the Economic Stimulus Programme.

Lawyer George Ng’ang’a Tuesday told Court of Appeal judges Philip Waki, Roselyn Nambuye and Patrick Kiage sitting in Nyeri that if the county hired the health workers, it would be required to spend an extra Sh100 million annually on their salaries.

The county said when the Employment and Labour Relations Court ordered it to absorb the workers, backdated from June 1, 2014, the budget had already been approved.

The workers, through lawyer Duncan Macharia, said the claim that the county would spend Sh100 million on their wages was untrue.

They added that at the moment the county is spending over Sh50 million to pay the workers on contract basis.

Mr Ng’ang’a said so far, the national government has not made any provisions to enable the county government to employ the health workers on permanent basis.

NO FORMAL AGREEMENT

The county government also denied that there was any formal agreement between the council of governors and the Ministry of Health to employ the ESP workers on permanent basis.

“My Client has never absorbed any ESP worker either from the first bunch or the second bunch employed by the National Public Service Board and because we lack Funds,” he said.

Mr Macharia said the ESP workers were employed on a three-year contract and were to be absorbed on permanent basis after the expiry of their contracts as directed by the national government.

Lawyer Francis Makori, representing the National Public Service Board and the Ministry of Health opposed the Murang’a County government’s argument of lack of funds and said that the workers have a right to permanent jobs.

Mr Makori also told the court that the Ministry of Health, through a letter dated January 24, 2015 directed that all ESP workers be absorbed on permanent basis after the expiry of their contracts and said that 31 counties had already complied.

Judgment will be delivered on December 16, 2015.