Recently, President William Ruto told Kenyans that the country must find savings of KSh 300 billion in the upcoming supplementary budget. In a television panel on 9 January 2023, Sylvanus Osoro spoke about the country’s financial situation.

Osoro, who represents the constituency of Mugirango South in the west of Kenya, made some claims about the country’s financial state, and we checked how accurate they were.

“We raise on or about 2.2 or 2.3 thereabouts in taxation in revenue as a country, but our budget always exceeds three trillion and in some few years we’ve been exceeding three trillion”

Figures on the spending of the government in the just concluded financial year are contained in the Quarterly Economic and Budgetary Review for the first quarter of 2022/2023. The document shows that Kenya raised KSh 2.2 trillion in the 2021/2022 financial year according to preliminary figures, matching his claim.

Verdict: Accurate

On expenses, Kenya’s budgeted expenditure for the current financial year is KSh3.36 trillion, while the country spent KSh3.03 trillion in the concluded the financial year of 2021/2022, matching Osoro’s claim.

YearExpenditure (KSh trillion)
2022/2023*3.36
2021/20223.03
2020/20212.75
2019/20202.57
2018/20192.43
Source: National Treasury
*Printed estimates of 2022/2023

Verdict: Accurate

Claim: “And it will shock Kenyans to know that about a billion or so goes to salaries, or KSh1.5 billion”

Figures on the country’s total public wage bill can be found in multiple sources. These include the Salaries and Remunerations Commission, the Controller of Budget and the Economic Survey.

The Salaries and Remunerations Commission is an independent commission mandated under the constitution to set and monitor the salaries paid to public servants in Kenya. In 2021/22, the commission projected that Kenya’s public wage bill was KSh 1.05 trillion. 

The Controller of Budget is an independent office that monitors spending in government and approves transfers from the exchequer. According to reports from the controller of budget, county governments paid personal emoluments of KSh 190.1 billion. Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the National Government spent KSh506.3 billion, while Semi-Autonomous Government Agencies*, which are affiliated to ministries, paid a total of KSh148.1 billion in personal emoluments. All these add up to KSh 844.5 billion. A spokesperson at the office of the controller of budget told us that certain salaries, such as those of certain security forces are not included in their additions.

GovernmentAmount (KSh billion)
County190.1
National Government (MDAs)506.3
National Government (SAGAs)148.1
TOTAL844.5
Source: Controller of Budget Reports

An example of a SAGA is the Kenya Power and Lighting Company, which is associated with the Ministry of Energy.

According to the 2022 Economic Survey, which is published by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the total public wage bill in 2021  was KSh 760.1 billion.  The Director of Macroeconomic Statistics at the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics told Debunk that the figures were for calendar years (January to December).

Total public wage bill in 2021 (KSh billion)

Government bodiesAmount (KSh billion)
Ministries and other extra-budgetary institutions164.1
Teachers Service Commission259.6
Parastatal Bodies94.5
Corporations Controlled by the Government61.4
County governments180.5
TOTAL PUBLIC SECTOR760.1
Source: Economic Survey 2022

Public wage figures from three sources show that the public wage bill is near or at KSh 1 trillion. Given that Osoro said that KSh1 billion – and not KSh1 trillion – was spent on salaries, we contacted him to confirm the source of his figures, and whether he misspoke, given his accuracy on the previous claims. We will update this report once we find out. Until then, we rate this claim Inaccurate.

Verdict: Inaccurate

This fact check was published by Debunk.media with support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck and African Fact-Checking Alliance.