Sitting allowances for Kenya’s lawmakers abolished

July 10, 2017 5:12 pm
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SRC Chairperson Sarah Serem said Kenyans called for immediate scrapping of all sitting allowances in the National Assembly and Senate arguing that they have watered down the proper functioning of Parliament/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 10 – Members of the Parliament who will be elected to the 12th Parliament will not benefit from the Sh5,000 allowance their predecessors enjoyed for sittings.

This is after the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) scrapped it after members of the public raised concerns that their representatives were misusing it.

SRC Chairperson Sarah Serem said Kenyans called for the immediate scrapping of all sitting allowances in the National Assembly and Senate arguing that they have watered down the proper functioning of Parliament.

“They did not think it is fair that they demanded an allowance to sit in the plenary to do their work. They even cited that they noticed that committees with 29 members, to raise quorum is a big problem,” she explained.

The MPs will now have to settle for fixed a monthly allowance of Sh128,000 subject to a maximum of sixteen sittings per month, which will be included in their pay slip.

The chairpersons of a House Committee who used to earn Sh8,000 will now settle for a fixed Sh128,000 subject to a maximum of 16 sittings per month.

Before adjourning indefinitely, MPs last month approved amendments to the Standing Orders which effectively reduced the number of MPs sitting in parliamentary committees by 12 in what a bid to cut the monthly sitting allowances lawmakers take home.

According House regulations which come into effect in the 12 Parliament, the membership of all House committees, except the Budget and Appropriations, were cut from 29 to 17.

Parliament had 30 committees during the life of the current House, meaning that it had 870 committee seats divided among the 349 legislators.

This meant that each MP sat in between three to four committees, offering them an opportunity to earn more from sitting perks.

Each of the 349 members of the National Assembly earns Sh5,000 per sitting while committee chairs earn Sh8,000 taking the lawmakers’ monthly take home to more than Sh1 million.

In 2013, the SRC had restricted committee meetings to a maximum of four per week, but the MPs can hold as many sessions as they deem necessary following a deal that the Deputy President William Ruto brokered in 2013.

The deal, removed the SRC cap on the number of times parliamentary committees can sit, opening the door for MPs to sit more and earn allowances.

In its reviewed salary structures for 2017-2022 released on Monday, the SRC also abolished reimbursable mileage claims for MPs and replaced it with a Zoning Rating System.

“We have five zones with various levels of kilometres, for instance, up to 750km will get a monthly Sh266,633 up to 1,000km to and fro will receive Sh355,550 and up to 1,250km will get 444,438,” she said.

Serem said the Commission settled on new salaries to reduce the burden on taxpayers.

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