MPs hatch plan to pocket Sh3b as send away packages

MPs demand comes amid tight economic times for Kenya as doctors and lecturers are on the road demanding for higher pay and improved working environment

 

The over 300 members of parliament, who were sworn to office in March 2013, have argued that their removal from office during the August polls contradicts the 5-year-term they are slated to serve on the office. They say the eight months would be from August to March 2018, a time when the five years would be coming to an end.

In addition, each Member of Parliament is set to receive a gratuity payment amounting to Sh6.7 million.

After hours of a closed door meeting, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich bowed to pressure from the lawmakers. It is murmured that he agreed to the formation of a team comprising finance ministry officials, Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to come up with an agreeable figure for the lawmakers.

The MPs are said to be angry that their current term has shortened by eight months.

"They are floating numbers, but we have agreed to come up with a team to iron out the issues. They want the issue of their payment looked at," Rotich told journalists in Nairobi shortly after the meeting.

Rotich has, however, not disclosed the exact details of the hatched plan. Members of the press were earlier locked of the high profile meeting in Nairobi.

"We were discussing the draft 2017/2018 budget for the PSC. Details can only be available when it is submitted to Parliament," Rotich later said in a short text message, a local paper reports. .

The money, if agreed to could either form part of the supplementary budget expected to be tabled in the House in the next few weeks week or be included in the substantial budget estimates to be tabled in April.

Ballooning wage bill

Kenyan MPs currently earn Sh740,000 per month, in addition to a series of allowances that raises their pay in excess of Sh1 million. This makes them one of the highly paid public servants in the republic, and in the world.

As it stands, if Kenya’s Treasury agrees to the concerns raised by the MPs, each MP will pocket a minimum of Sh6 million for the eight months they will not be in office.

The meeting between Public Service Commission SC, Treasury and the Budget and Appropriations Committee was also attended by Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) Chair Sarah Serem, who hinted displeasure in the move by MPs.

The move by MPs is expected to spark a heated debate in the financial and the public sector. The country is currently grappling a huge wage bill.

Currently, Kenyan doctors and public university lectures are on a strike, demanding for better pay and working environment.

While gratuity payment is provided for in law, there were reports that MPs are also pushing for a more favorable formula of calculating how much they should be paid. Some MPs have maintained that the contract with the Public Service Commission (PSC) is non-negotiable.

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