NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 23 – A member of the Parliamentary Service Commission has opposed the move by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission to scrap committee, mortgage and car grant allowances for MPs elected to the 12th Parliament.
Gladys Wanga, who is serving her second term as the Homa Bay County Woman Representative, said the move is meant to degrade MPs in comparison to their counterparts in the Executive and Judiciary.
“There is a mission to demean the MPs and reduce them to beggars and perhaps like the 90s expect them to troop to the Executive very Friday begging for handouts to be able to go back to their constituencies and this will not happen under our watch at the PSC; members will not be reduced to beggars as we look on.”
“This gazette notice in my view is not only in bad taste but is really, truly singling out MPs, and meting unfairness on them in comparison to other State officers. SRC did not conduct any job evaluation on MPs and therefore proceeded to effect changes downwards on our salaries and allowances without any basis,” Wanga added.
She says the PSC which has the responsibility of looking after the welfare of parliamentarians and parliamentary staff was not consulted before SRC gazetted the new perks on July 7.
The Homa Bay legislator who was re-elected during the General Election conducted two weeks now says the PSC which is chaired by the Speaker of the National Assembly will convene a meeting with MPs once they are sworn in to decide on their recourse.
“We are not saying increase our salaries and allowances to inappropriate levels because we know where the economy is; but just let us have what we had, do not disadvantage us inappropriately and try to incite Kenyans against us and I think the Kenyan public will understand,” she explained.
Speaking while receiving the bold recommendations from the SRC in July, President Uhuru Kenyatta declared his unequivocal support saying one of the key items on the Jubilee administration’s agenda has been to answer the need to compensate public servants fairly, while managing Kenya’s finances prudently.
In July, the Sarah Serem-led SRC announced a new pay structure that reduced the gross salaries of all State officials, including MPs.
SRC reviewed State officers’ jobs over the past four years to determine whether the current pay structure was aligned to the objectives of the Constitution, particularly with regard to transparency, accountability and efficient governance.
Serem said SRC had compared salaries in Kenya to those in neighbouring East African Community states, South Africa, India, Canada and the United States and also considered Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product and the taxes collected yearly.
Each member of the 418-member bicameral Parliament will take home Sh621,250 per month, down from Sh710,000.
The SRC also scrapped Sh5,000 sitting allowances for plenary as well as special parliamentary allowances.
The Commission charged with regulating public wage bill also replaced mileage allowance, which has been prone to abuse, with a zoning system for purposes of calculating monthly transport allowances for the Senate, county and National Assembly leaders.
The salary of the President, the highest-paid civil servant, was reduced by Sh206,250 to Sh1,443,750 from Sh1,650,000.
In Parliament, the salary of the highest-earning officers, the Speakers, has been slashed by Sh165,000 to Sh1,155,000 from Sh1,320,000.
At the devolved level, a governor will now earn Sh924,000 from Sh1,056,000.
Sitting allowances for committee meetings were fixed at a maximum of Sh80,000 for members and Sh128,000 for chairmen while mileage reimbursement has been removed.
MPs lost their car grant of Sh5 million and will instead be entitled to a Sh7 million car loan in addition to the Sh20 million mortgage.
Kenyan lawmakers are among the highest-paid politicians in the world, earning a cumulative pay of Sh1.33 million a month, courtesy of unlimited committee sessions and mileage allowances, before the latest review.