, NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 25- The Federation of Kenyan Employers (FKE) on Monday raised its concerns over proposals in the draft constitution to increase the number of constituencies.
Addressing journalists in Nairobi, FKE Chairman Patrick Obath said compared to well developed countries with larger populations, the ratio between members of parliament to the population for Kenya would be unfeasible going forward.
Top on the chairman’s list of concerns was the stretching of government resources posing a challenge to development in the country.
“Kenya with a population of 40 million will have over 300 people in Parliament; the USA with a population of 308 million people has 100. Didn’t anyone look at that? Can Kenya afford to have those numbers?” Eng Obath questioned.
The Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitution Review on Friday agreed to increase the number of constituencies to 290 and retain the current 12 nominated positions. The committee also provided for a further 54 special seats, which will be reserved for women all with benefits that would require funding.
If the recommendations are adopted the country will have 356 MPs bringing their total pay to at least Sh3 billion per year.
According to Eng Obath the most likely to suffer is the development budget, potentially slowing down the country’s goal of becoming a middle income country by 2030.
“With the size of the economy as it is, something has to suffer to pay those people and it is not going to be recurrent expenditure. We think this proposal is retrogressive because it does not reflect clearly what Kenyans want,” he said.
He added the devolved system of government as currently proposed, needs to be reworked to ensure resources are well shared amongst all regional governments.
“We don’t agree on full devolution but yes we agree on regional governments but with certain checks and balances,” he said.
He proposes that all regional governments deposit resources into a national kitty that is then distributed equally amongst them.