Lawyers propose MPs pay review

April 23, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 23 – The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) is proposing the formation of a permanent remuneration commission to periodically review the salaries and allowances of Members of Parliament.

While making his presentation to the Akiwumi Tribunal collecting views on the taxation of MPs allowances on Thursday, LSK chairman Okong’o Omogeni said that this is the practice internationally. He proposed that the members to the commission should be nominated by professional bodies such as the Institute of Public Accountants and the LSK, and appointed by the President.

“We have proposed that the commission should make review towards the end of the term of Parliament, probably in August. The new perks should affect the incoming MPs,” he said, adding that the review should put into consideration the prevailing inflation trends.

Mr Omogeni said that the perks of the MPs should be harmonised with those of other officers in the Judiciary and other civil servants.

“None of the three arms should feel disadvantaged on their remuneration.”

The head of the legal profession was nevertheless opposed to the high discrepancies between the legislators and other civil servants’ salaries.

“The pay should not create such a wide difference between what MPs earn than those civil servants performing other important responsibilities,” he said.

The LSK boss however maintained that all allowances of the MPs should be taxed. He said that the taxation should commence immediately. Mr Omogeni added that it was discrimination for a section of the society not to pay taxes while the other section was.

The Tribunal was appointed by National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende to seek public views on the controversial issue of taxation of MPs salary.

Parliament rejected a proposal by the executive to tax their hefty perks. Currently deductions for the MPs amount to Sh59,000 out of their basic salary. If the proposal to tax the allowances was taken, the legislators would pay about a quarter of their allowances which are worth over Sh800,000.

LSK on the other hand proposed that Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s pay should be slightly higher than that of the Vice President.

“The National Accord recognises two principals and the Vice President is a principal assistant. With this in mind the PM’s pay should higher,” he said.

Mr Omogeni meanwhile dismissed the payment of allowances to the spouses of the PM and the VP, noting that this was not supported by the constitution.



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