, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 25 – The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) Chairperson Sarah Serem says a proposal to give car grants to Members of County Assemblies, which has received backing from President Uhuru Kenyatta, is unattainable.
Serem said the grants which would amount to Sh6 billion, cannot be implemented especially at this time the country is struggling with a bloated wage bill.
“Currently Wanjiku (taxpayer) cannot afford to give handouts more so when the wage bill is threatening development. As SRC we want to understand the context in which the President made the comment,” she said.
On March 21, President Kenyatta assured Members of County Assemblies that they are entitled to car grants, just like Members of Parliament.
Kenyatta who spoke at a retreat for MCAs in Mombasa explained that neither MPs nor MCAs were superior to the other as they were both elected into office by the same Kenyans and the rules governing their benefits should therefore not be discriminatory. READ: MCAs entitled to car grants like MPs – Uhuru
“As the white man says, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. If it’s a car loan, let it be a car loan for everybody. If it is a grant, it must be a grant for everybody. Justice is justice,” he reiterated.
Serem, who was speaking at Ol Kalou Secondary School during the debate on sustainability of the public wage bill, explained that not all civil servants will be affected by pay cuts as widely perceived.
The 10-day countrywide public debate on wage bill sustainability will enable the commission develop a remuneration policy which will be adopted by the Government.
Contributing to the debate, members of the public noted that duplication of roles in County Governments, existence of ghost workers and the ‘big man’ syndrome were some of the issues inflating the wage bill in Nyandarua County.
“The Governor’s office is only 700 meters from this venue and the Governor, his deputy, nine executive committee members and the Governor’s press teams were each chauffeur driven here instead of walking to save some money. Is this how we are going to address the wage bill issue?” Wilson Mwangi an area resident posed.
As things stand, SRC granted MCAs a Sh2 million car loan to be paid back on a three percent interest rate within their term in office.
MPs on the other hand are able to access a Sh5 million car grant, interest free, in addition to a Sh7 million car loan which MCAs have argued they also deserve as they too carry out a legislative function.