Non–Governmental Organizations operating in Kenya risk losing their licenses unless they adhere to new policy guidelines requiring them to stop hiring expatriates where there are Kenyans who qualify.
NGO Board Director Fazul Mohamed says a huge salary disparity also exists between Kenyan and foreign staff leading to a trend of career expatriates hoping from organization to organization.
With nearly 80,000 people employed in the NGOs based in Kenya, the inside politics and mischief has gotten the attention of the government.
Apparently, expatriates are flooding the multinational, international and even local NGOs for lucrative posts and perks at the expense of qualified Kenyans.
Starting Monday, the 21st of June, NGOs must satisfy a raft of requirements contained in a circular sent to the organizations, including; “You only employ expatriates where there are no skills available locally; and there is differential treatment between international and local staff. International staff earn 4 times what a Kenyan earns for the same job, with comparable skills and qualifications,” said Fazul.
The NGO board has discovered that on average, an international staff based in Kenya is paid 2,430,000 shillings every year, while a local staff based here as well would take home about 628,000 shillings for the same duration and job; a 1.8 million shillings difference.
“We have issued a circular to all HRMs of international and local NGOs to harmonize the salaries between local and international staff,” said the NGO Board Director failure to which the NGO and the Human Resource Managers involved will face legal sanctions.
In any case, all expatriates must receive the board’s endorsement to receive and renew their work permits.
“For those who have been in the country for more than three years, they will need to prove to us why they need more years around. We expect that at the point of being given a work permit they should have identified a Kenyan understudy, and we expect that Kenyan to then have been trained sufficiently for such skills that were not available in the country for them to take over the job,” said Fazul.
Besides earning four times more than their Kenyan peers, foreigners are apparently enjoying house allowances in suburban estates, they would be allocated a car and their children would learn in high end international schools at the expense of the NGOs, that would not have the same granted to Kenyan staff.
Then there are foreign volunteers, who according to the NGO Board, do not earn salaries per se, but their perks on aggregate would surpass the salaries of local staff.
“We have told all NGOs before they bring volunteers into the country, they should sufficiently convince us and prove that there are also an equitable number of Kenyan volunteers sent to other countries,” added Fazul.
From Monday henceforth, the NGOs will be required to recruit only after advertising in two local dailies to ensure as many Kenyans can apply and if they do not get the requisite skill, then they will be required to seek the approval of the board.
The board also undertakes to do periodic spot checks to ensure salary discrepancies are evened.