, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 20 – The Head of the Public Service Francis Muthaura has told a tribunal appointed to review the salaries of Members of Parliament (MP) not to give the lawmakers any pay rise.
Mr Muthaura who appeared before the tribunal at the Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC) on Monday, said the pay package of the legislators should remain as it is and be further subjected to taxation.
"We know that the Constitution states what should be taxed but as a mater of principle MPs must have their allowances taxed," the Civil Service boss said.
Kenyan MPs are possibly the best paid in the world, drawing a monthly salary and allowances worth about Sh850, 000, of which only the basic salary of Sh200, 000 is taxed.
Mr Mutharau was however opposed to the reduction of the salaries of the lawmakers saying: "If you feel the salary is so high the best way is hold it at that period for a longer period."
Kenya MPs have in recent weeks demanded a salary increase before their pay is taxed. The lawmakers want a minimum pay of Sh1.5 million before the taxman is allowed to take his cut.
Presenting their views to the tribunal a fortnight ago, Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo and his Kangundo counterpart Johnson Muthama said that increasing their salaries was the only way to make Parliament support the tribunal’s recommendations.
However Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner General Michael Waweru who also appeared before the tribunal on Monday said legislators did not have any reason for not paying taxes.
Mr Waweru said the current excuse that MPs make numerous contributions to society were not sufficient to evade taxes.
"All of us do contribute to fund raisers and continue to pay taxes. The Constituency development Fund was introduced so as to remove the financial burden from MPs, I think their reasons for not paying taxes are running out."
The 11-member committee, led by retired Judge Akilano Akiwumi will continue with its public hearings at KICC on Tuesday.
The tribunal is also mandated to review the terms of service of the President, the Vice President, the Prime Minister, and other parliamentary staff. It is expected to collect views from members of the public in all provinces and leaders within the next three months before compiling its report.
The last time the MPs salaries were reviewed was in 2002 by a commission led by Justice (rtd) Majid Cockar.