NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 3 – Labour and Social Services Secretary nominee Kazungu Kambi says MPs’ salaries should only be increased if economic indicators are right.
Speaking during his parliamentary approval hearing, Kambi backed President Uhuru Kenyatta in his appeal to MPs to engage the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) in dialogue as a way of resolving the pay standoff.
Last week, MPs moved a Motion that quashed a gazette notice setting their pay and later threatened to slash by salaries of the president and the budgets of constitutional offices.
President Kenyatta while reacting to the MPs move had last week ordered an end to the conflict between lawmakers and the SRC over their pay. He said the Constitution mandates the SRC to set and review salaries of all state officers, including MPs.
Kenyatta’s statement came as SRC boss Sarah Serem warned National Assembly Clerk Justin Bundi that he would be surcharged if he effected an increase to MPs’ salaries beyond the Sh532,500 set by the commission. Last Tuesday, MPs voted to restore their pay to Sh851,000, the amount paid to legislators in the last Parliament.
The Serem-led Commission has insisted that the Constitution is supreme and no-one, including MPs, can supersede it.
Serem last week asserted that the SRC’s recommendation was final.
Kambi who served as the Kaloleni Constituency representative in the 10th Parliament however admitted there was no full participation of all parties when the SRC considered parliamentarians salaries.
He nonetheless said the standoff should be dealt with immediately because it was threatening to paralyse operations in the government.
“This is not in the national interest and we must as leaders bring this matter to an appropriate and sustainable conclusion,” he said.
The former Medical Services assistant minister defended himself against claims that he did not have post secondary school education. He told the Committee on Appointments that he pursued a degree at Baraton University adding that has completed course work and is waiting to graduate.
Kambi said that if appointed into office he will put in place measures to deal with graft at the National Social Services Fund as well as ensure that the minimum wage falls above what the lowest placed worker currently earns.
He said his previous appointment in government will empower him to serve in his new docket.