The Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) has asked the Treasury to allocate Sh2.1 billion ($21 million) in the supplementary budget for approval when MPs resume from recess on February 12, according to correspondence seen by the Business Daily.
Should PSC get its way, the money will be paid to former MPs who lost their seats in last year's General Election after serving only one term. This is despite the Pension Department having paid the former lawmakers about Sh5.9 million ($59,000) each as an exit package last year.
“It has been determined that the commission should request the National Treasury for the full amount of gratuity that would accrue to all one-term members of the 11th Parliament in the forthcoming 2nd supplementary budget,” says the letter signed by PSC secretary Jeremiah Nyegenye.
The PSC, had earlier this month sent a letter to the Pensions Department asking Treasury to calculate the additional exit package for inclusion in the supplementary budget.
“For budgeting purposes, this is to request you to calculate the total amount of gratuity that would be due to all one-term members,”
However, the law does not support the proposed pay. The salaries commission has advised against the proposed send-off package. SRC maintains that the MPs cannot be offered both a minimum gratuity of Sh7 million and a refund of their pension contributions, which includes a share of government contribution and an annual interest of 15 per cent for the five years they were in office.
Parliament is however, now arguing that the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) was wrong in stopping the Sh2.1 billion send-off pay that PSC is now demanding. It argues that MPs must get an exit pay equivalent to 31 per cent of the total pay they earned during their term in office like other State officers such as governors.
Parliament, on the other hand, says the former MPs are willing to refund the government contribution once they get the Sh2.1 billion.
“Once the funds are received, the commission (PSC) would then pay to the Pensions Department the government contribution that had been paid to the said members,” Mr Nyegenye says in the letter to the Treasury.
The latest push for yet another hefty payout is another reflection of the growing burden of keeping top public servants comfortable in retirement.
If Parliament gets its way, the 304 MPs and senators who lost in the August 8 elections will cumulatively receive Sh2.12 billion ($21.2 million) as a golden parachute for serving a single term in Parliament.