Atwoli outlines why MPs need hefty salaries, allowances

Atwoli defends the Members of Parliament amidst threats of salary cuts by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.

COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli during a past press conference at Tom Mboya Labor College, Kisumu. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Central Organisation for Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General Francis Atwoli has defended the hefty salaries and allowances members of parliament are fighting to get in their war with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).

According to Atwoli, the MPs needed dignity before their constituents who depended on them and needed not to be denied allowances.

“Our members of parliament are unique, so many people depend on them and have a lot of things they need to initiate in their constituencies when you curtail them from earning what would give them dignity as members of parliament,” the COTU boss retorted during an interview with NTV.

Atwoli said if the lawmakers are not well remunerated then they are on the verge of becoming con-men.

“Our MPs must dress well, must have nice cars and it is us as taxpayers who will facilitate that so that they don’t become con-men or engage in other businesses which are not worth a member of parliament engaging in,”Atwoli insisted.

The comments by Atwoli come after the SRC on Wednesday, September 21, held a seven-hour discussion with MPs, in which the legislators put their foot down, describing the scrapping of allowances as unacceptable.

According to a leaked recording of the meeting, some MPs proposed that they would slash SRC’s budget if the commission failed to reinstate the abolished allowances.

We intended to have a closed meeting and the purpose of a closed meeting is not to come out and disclose everything we discussed,” National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula shared, adding that the MPs were satisfied with engagements.

In its new proposals, the commission recommended a Sh40,000 increase in the MPs’ pay to Sh750,000 per month.

However, the SRC also proposed cuts in the legislators' allowances and benefits to stem the ballooning wage bill.

In the new proposals, MPs’ car grants were slashed from Sh5 million each to Sh3.5 million.

The SRC removed sitting allowances for the house plenary arguing that MPs were already receiving a salary to perform their roles.

Sitting allowance for committee sittings was also capped at 8 in a month. This means that chairpersons of committees who are entitled to Sh10,000 would get a maximum of Sh80,000 monthly.

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