MOMBASA, Kenya, Feb 10 – Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi on Friday defended a plan by MPs to pay themselves an estimated Sh3.7 billion.
In his remarks during the House leadership retreat in Mombasa, Muturi who is also the Parliamentary Service Commission Chairperson said Parliament has a right to negotiate their salaries and terms of service like other public workers.
“It is our legitimate responsibility as the PSC to engage the SRC and other Arms of Government on what is best for our members. When we do that, it cannot be termed as arm-twisting. It is not arm-twisting. It is negotiating,” Muturi said.
He faulted the media for ‘demonising’ MPs while they agitated for what was rightfully theirs.
“Parliament has not set its salaries and terms of service,” the House Speaker stated.
The PSC and MPs in the Budget and Appropriations Committee on Tuesday insisted they must be given severance pay for the eight months which they will not serve because the elections will be held in August.
This was deliberated during a closed door meeting with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) Chairperson Sarah Serem and National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich.
The PSC was asked to set up a team to negotiate with the salaries team and the Treasury and justify the payment.
The Commission is yet to submit its estimates for the next financial year to the National Assembly.
The Judiciary has requested for Sh17 billion while the Executive is similarly yet to submit theirs through Rotich.
The National Assembly has 349 members and the Senate has 62 and each earns about Sh1 million a month, this brings the total that they want to be paid to Sh3.3 billion.
MPs are already entitled to a gratuity calculated at the rate of 31 percent of their annual basic pay and for those who have served at least a cumulative of two terms, a pension of Sh100,000 a month.
On February 9, High Court Judge John Mativo blocked the Treasury from considering the benefits and salaries sought up by MPs until a case challenging the proposal is heard and determined.
One of the arguments against such pay has been that it would trigger similar demands from County Assemblies.