NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 3 – The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) on Friday advocated for the scrapping of sitting allowances paid to Members of Parliament (MP) every time they attend Parliamentary sessions or serve in House Committees.
General Secretary Canon Peter Karanja said being in Parliament to pass laws and serving in committees was a key role of the legislators and they were already paid to do that.
Currently each MP is paid Sh3,000 for attending normal sessions in Parliament and Sh5,000 for appearing in committee meetings.
“To earn sitting allowances one should be adding value to organisations and institutions outside of their normal course of duty,” Reverend Karanja recommended.
He was giving his submissions to a tribunal appointed to review the salaries of the lawmakers at the Kenyatta International Conference Center, where Ufungamanao Joint Forum of Religious Organisations Secretary Charles Wambugu called for the reduction of the salaries of MPs.
“The lawmakers should be paid Sh500,000. That is sufficient to cater for their needs. In future their salaries should be pegged on the state of the country’s economy,” Mr Wambugu told the tribunal.
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.
The legislators have demanded a salary increase before their allowances are taxed. The lawmakers want a minimum pay of Sh1.5 million before the taxman is allowed to take his cut.
The Tribunal that has been holding public hearings in Nairobi since Monday concluded its sittings and will proceed to Rift Valley Province next week to gather views.
The team lead by retired Judge Akilano Akiwumi 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.