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Nyachae says MPs not justified to oust salaries team

CHARLES-NYACHAE-BLUENAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 20- The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) has now cautioned MPs against a plan to remove Commissioners of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission from office, saying the move is ill advised.

CIC Chairman Charles Nyachae said it was unfortunate that the legislators, led by Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi, were bent on sending the Commissioners home simply because they felt aggrieved by the perks that the SRC had set for them.

Nyachae advised MPs against using their legislative powers to settle personal scores noting that it would set a bad precedent in addition to interfering with the confidence enjoyed by other independent constitutional Commissions.

“If the petition goes through Parliament, it will go to the President then he sets up a tribunal which will make a decision but the Constitution sets out reasons for this cause and I am not aware of any at the moment,” he said.

Nyachae, who was speaking at a retreat for Senators in Naivasha, however observed that the legislators had a right to canvass for a higher pay.

The Parliamentary Service Commission has been negotiating with the SRC to resolve the salary impasse.
“There is nothing illegal with agitating for salaries. What is important is that it is done with the right organ and in this case the right organ is the SRC,” he explained.

The SRC is however, caught between a rock and a hard place as it struggles with addressing and resolving the salary discrepancies that exist in the public sector.

SRC Communications Officer Ali Chege explained that the Commission was still reviewing the salaries of other public workers and caving in to the demands by MPs would only complicate matters.

The public wage bill currently takes Sh458 billion in the 2012/2013 Budget and stands at more than 12 percent of the country’s GDP.

When President Uhuru Kenyatta made his maiden address in parliament on Tuesday, he told lawmakers that the wage bill was unsustainable.

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“This wage bill is well above the internationally accepted standard of 7% and accounts for almost half of the revenue collected by Government. This is unsustainable and poses a serious threat to the funding of important development projects,” he argued.

According to the Kenya National Commission of Human Rights (KNCHR), the government will save Sh500 million per year if the MPs pay remains as it is.

“In five years, these savings will amount to Sh30 billion. If it was to be allocated to primary school education, it would be enough to see 852,272 poor children through eight years of schooling,” KNCHR acting Chairperson Anne Munyiva told a press conference on Friday.

Munyiva argues that MPs are not justified to demand more pay because they already entitled to lucrative perks which include an in patient medical cover worth Sh10 million and an outpatient cover of Sh300,000. This health package covers their spouse and four children below the age of 25.

The maternity package is set at Sh150,000 while their dental package stands at Sh75,000 together with the optical one pegged at Sh75,000.

The MPs will also get a non pensionable retirement benefit that will be calculated at 31 percent of their annual basic pay at the end of their term.

A car loan of up to Sh7 million repayable at three percent per annum within five years as well as a mortgage facility of up to Sh20 million also repayable at the same rates is also available to the MPs.

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