, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 6 – A Cabinet meeting that had been called on Tuesday to discuss among other issues the hefty salaries and allowances proposed by Members of Parliament has now been re-scheduled.
A statement from the Presidential Press Service said the postponement was due to a visit by Brazilian President Luiz Lula Da Silva who is in Kenya for a two-day visit.
“Due to the official visit by the President of Brazil H.E. Luiz Lula Da Silva, who is being hosted by H.E. President Mwai Kibaki, today’s Cabinet meeting has been re-scheduled,” said the brief statement.
The two leaders were expected to hold talks and sign bilateral agreements on behalf of the two countries on Tuesday. The Brazilian leader arrived in Kenya on Monday evening and was due to leave for Tanzania after ending his two-day visit.
The Cabinet meeting would also have taken place against the backdrop of reports that there were no sufficient funds for the August 4 referendum.
The Interim Independent Electoral Commission issued a statement on Monday indicating it was Sh2 billion short in preparing for the vote.
Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta had been expected to brief the Cabinet on his rejection of the proposal to increase MPs salaries and allowances.
The meeting was expected to come up with a way of dealing with a perceived hostile House and push the passage of the Finance Bill which is before the House. Mr Kenyatta has said the proposal could not be accommodated since it was not factored in the 2010-2011 Budget.
Public fury and uproar has persisted in the last week after 30 MPs voted to double their allowances and allocate themselves outrageous pay increases. Lawmakers debated and approved the report of the Parliamentary Service Commission in a record 30 minutes last Wednesday.
An MP’s monthly pay (basic salary plus allowances) would have increased to Sh1.2 million up from Sh871,000 while the Speaker would have earned Sh2.8 million up from Sh1.5 million according to the proposal tabled in Parliament on Wednesday.
The Prime Minister and Vice President would have been the biggest beneficiaries and could have earned hefty salaries amounting to Sh3.2 million and Sh2.7 million respectively following recommendations by the Parliamentary Service Commission.
The Commission’s report proposed that the Speaker be entitled to a sitting allowance of Sh30,000 up from Sh10,000 while MPs will take home Sh10,000 up from Sh5,000 per session.
The new perks had originally been proposed by a Tribunal that was headed by former Court of Appeal judge Akilano Akiwumi. The PSC however reviewed the Akiwumi proposal upwards.
The tribunal had recommended Sh2.9 million for the PM, Sh2.1 million for the VP, Sh2.1 million for the Speaker and Sh1.1 million for MPs. The legislators nonetheless agreed taxation of their transport, entertainment and responsibility allowances.
In total an MP will submit Sh776,000 out which would be taxed. The PSC doubled the proposed payments on the basis of the effects of inflation, and the resolve to pay tax on some of their allowances followed public pressure.