BY UHURU KENYATTA
As members of the public are aware, Parliament adopted the recommendations of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) that were based on the report of the Akiwumi Tribunal.
The Tribunal was appointed following the concerns of the public on the reportedly high salaries of the members of the National Assembly and the question of paying taxes on allowances. Parliament also passed a resolution that directs me to present to the House the necessary Bills amending the relevant legislations.
The public will also recall that I presented the Budget Estimates for the Financial Year 2010/11 on 10th June 2010. These estimates do not include any additional allocations to the National Assembly for salaries and other benefits.
The budget estimates as presented had exhausted the resource envelope that could be realistically mobilized. Therefore, the additional expenditures can only be financed either through additional borrowing or imposition of higher taxes, both of which have far reaching adverse economic and social consequences.
Members of the public will also recall that in the budget, I stated that Treasury had taken austerity measures to generate additional savings from recurrent expenditures for financing critical development expenditures particularly roads, energy and water.
As stated in our Budget Policy Statement, recurrent expenditures consume about 97 percent of ordinary revenue, leaving a paltry 3 percent for development expenditures.
This is clearly not sustainable and is inconsistent with our development objectives stated in Vision 2030. Indeed, this position has been supported by Members of Parliament. Hon. Members have also been vocal against excessive borrowing and we agree with them. As representatives of the people, Hon. Members of Parliament have equally advised and rightly so, on the need to reduce the tax burden on Kenyans.
It is also important to note that we have been pursuing a policy framework that is supportive of the private sector through enhanced competitiveness.
The actions taken by Hon Members are not supportive of these noble objectives because they will trigger demands for salary increment by other sectors. Consequently, these will lead to a wage spiral, hence creating inflation and weakening our competitiveness. This is even more critical now that we are in a Common Market for the East African Community, because our goods will be more expensive relative to those of other member countries.
For these reasons, we are have initiated a process to further engage the Hon. Members to discuss way in which these issues can be addressed. We are confident that Members of Parliament will once again rise to the occasion to ensure this matter is resolved satisfactorily for the good of our country.