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MPs budget for Sh6.5 billion severance pay

By Moses Michira | Published Thu, March 16th 2017 at 00:00, Updated March 16th 2017 at 08:09 GMT +3
 Members of Parliament. (Photo: Courtesy)

MPs have allocated themselves an additional Sh6.5 billion meant to compensate for their reduced term.

The Parliamentary Service Commission budget was tabled indicating the huge extra allocation, which is not explained.

The tabling coincided with an announcement by President Uhuru Kenyatta that the salaries of civil servants and elected leaders would be slashed due to unsustainable rise in public wage bill. The salaries gobble up half of the taxes Kenyans pay.

The MPs have been pushing for an award of a severance pay to cover the eight-month reduction of the usual five-year term that should have ended in March 2018.

Prior estimates had placed the cumulative amount demanded by the MPs at Sh3.7 billion implying that the payout may actually be higher.

The Constitution prescribes that the election date of August 8 be preceded by the dissolution of the current Parliament where opinion polls have indicated that more than half of the MPs may not be re-elected.

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich will unveil an earlier than usual budget next Thursday, which includes the enhanced package.

The new estimates for the Parliamentary Service Commission tabled yesterday indicated that the total allocation has shot to a record Sh23.4 billion.

In spite of the jump, the development budget used to acquire new property for the PSC reduced significantly from Sh4.5 billion to Sh1 billion.

Despite the huge anticipated payout, President Kenyatta has protested the current pay, which places an MP's monthly salary at about Sh1.1 million.

Uhuru told the legislators in his State of the Nation address that he had received a report of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission that proposes huge pay cuts for elected officers.

"This report recommends, among other measures, a rationalisation of the salaries and allowances paid to senior state officers, public servants, elected officials from MCA all the way to the President," said the President.

He added that the proposals, when implemented, will result in a reduction in salaries and allowances for the next batch of elected leaders.

"As your President, and as a Kenyan, I fully support the recommendations of the SRC and I call upon all of us to adopt these recommendations," he said.

However, after Treasury and SRC opposed a plan to pay the lawmakers "severance allowance" amounting to Sh2.4 billion in the current year's mini budget, it seems the legislators decided to sneak it into the 2017-2018 budget.

MPs had dropped the demand in the mini-budget and agreed to submit a budget of Sh40.2 billion, Sh5 billion less than what they initially wanted.