MPs seek Sh1.1m monthly payment and Sh7.5m car grant

0
9
Economy

MPs seek Sh1.1m monthly payment and Sh7.5m car grant


parliament

Legislators in the parliament buildings. PHOTO | JEF ANGOTE | NMG

edwinmutai_img

Resume

  • Members of Parliament are pushing for a 62 per cent wage increase to Sh1.15 million per month and an additional Sh2.5 million for the duty-free car grant.
  • MPs argue that they deserve to be on the same pay scale as Court of Appeal judges, who currently earn a maximum monthly salary of sh 1,156,108.
  • Currently, each of the 416 legislators is entitled to a monthly minimum wage of between 621,250 and 710,000 shillings.

Members of Parliament are pushing for a 62 per cent wage increase to Sh1.15 million per month and an additional Sh2.5 million for duty-free car subsidy, opening a new battlefront with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC )

Lawmakers also want the SRC to reinstate a monthly housing allowance and increase benefits to sh400,000.

MPs argue that they deserve to be on the same pay scale as Court of Appeal judges, who currently earn a maximum monthly salary of sh 1,156,108.

Currently, each of the 416 legislators is entitled to a monthly minimum wage of between 621,250 and 710,000 shillings.

MPs’ push for salaries and fringe benefits conflicts with an agreement Kenya has signed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to freeze the salaries of all civil servants for two years until 2025.

The wage freeze is expected to help only public sector wages to free up cash for projects like road construction that ultimately create jobs.

The SRC has proposed cuts to MPs committee sessions, local travel benefits and car subsidies ahead of the August general election.

Lawmakers argue they needed high salaries because voters expect them to provide charitable support.

Some also say MPs could be vulnerable to bribery if their salaries are too low.

“We demand that we be placed on the same job ladder as appellate court judges who enjoy housing subsidies while we get a mortgage. We should benefit like others,” said a parliamentarian at an informal meeting.

The SRC, which advises the government on the salaries of civil servants in the public sector, has cut mileage claims by sh187 per kilometer for a round trip to its constituencies to sh112.

Parliamentarians want the millage claim to be increased or maintained.

The commission has proposed capping committee meetings at eight a month from the current unlimited sessions, hitting two perks that have had the effect of doubling a lawmaker’s salary.

MPs get paid 5,000 sh per committee session, the chairman takes home 10,000 sh and vice-chairs 7,500 sh. MPs want benefits to rise above Sh7,500 for ordinary members.

Details of a closed session, commonly known as Speakers Kamukunji, indicate that MPs also demanded an increase in car subsidies from the current Sh5 million to Sh7.5 million.

The SRC cut the tax-free car subsidy cut to Sh3.5 million, allowing MPs to use the Sh7 million subsidized vehicle loan to buy high-end cars such as Toyota V8s.

However, the commission increased the basic salary of parliamentarians to 750,000 sh. monthly from the current 710,000 sh, an increase that does not compensate for the losses due to the cut in allocations.

Kenya’s public sector wage bill stands at 50 per cent of the government’s annual tax revenue and the IMF puts the global benchmark at 35 per cent.

The government has struggled for years to contain its rising spending on wages that has squeezed development funds, forcing the state to take out loans to finance development projects and pay wages.

The SRC says that the total public sector wage bill reached 827 billion shillings in the year ending June 2020, reflecting a 34 per cent increase from 615 billion shillings in 2016.

[email protected]

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here