NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 10 – The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) has approved car grants for all the Members of County Assemblies their Speakers totaling to Sh4.5 billion.
SRC Chairperson Lyn Mengich said the move that will see all the ward representatives awarded a Sh2 million car grant each.
She said the decision announced on Tuesday was informed by the need to promote “equity and fairness”.
In a memo addressed to the newly elected Chairperson of the Council of Governors (CoG) Martin Wambora, Mengich noted that all the County Assemblies Speakers and the MCAs who had taken car loans will now have the facilities converted to grants.
Consequently, upon conversion, the existing Car Loans shall cease and the Speakers and Members of the County Assembly who have already benefited on the existing loans shall convert their Car Loan to Transport Facilitation Benefit in form of a Car Grant.
Wambora had petitioned SRC to confer the car grant benefit to the MCAs to match Members of Parliament.
“The SRC takes cognizance of the similarity of the roles of the legislators at the county and national levels. It should be noted that the category of benefits to the legislators at the county and national levels are similar, with the exception of Transport Facilitation Benefit “Car Grant” that is provided to the legislators at the national level,” Mengich said.
Mengich however, clarified that the car loan facility funds will not affect the country’s expenditure ceiling as provided by the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA).
She added that the benefit is only applicable to the current County Speakers and the MCAs and that the operationalization of the car loan can be undertaken administratively by the respective county governments.
County Assemblies Forum Chairperson Ndegwa Wahome hailed the move noting that it will strengthen the MCAs’ capacity to oversight devolution.
The ward representatives have been leading a spirited campaign to have them granted the car grant in the wake of the ongoing Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) debate.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, during a meeting with a section of the ward representatives drawn from the Mt. Kenya region two weeks ago, had promised them the car grant after they made it a precondition for passing the BBI Constitution Amendment Bill 2020.
ODM Party Leader Raila Odinga during a meeting with MCAs from Nyanza region also backed the proposal insisting MCAs had a right to enjoy the privilege and assured them that President Kenyatta will honor his promise.
Whereas Deputy President William Ruto allies have been categorical that the car grant benefit to the MCAs is an act of bribery, the move is a big incentive that is set to be a gamechanger in the passage of the BBI Bill in the county assemblies.
Already, Siaya and Kisumu County Assemblies have passed the document that seeks to change the country’s governance structure.
At least 24 county assemblies are needed to pass the Bill for it to move to Parliament and subsequently pave way for a referendum.