Shocker for MPs as Serem releases new pay structure

Salaries and Remuneration Commission Chairperson Sarah Serem and Vice Chairperson Daniel Ogutu address journalists yesterday on State officers salary reviews. [David Njaaga, Standard]

MPs are the biggest losers in new salary cuts for top officials intended to save taxpayers Sh9 billion annually.

Besides a reduction in basic salary, Members of the National Assembly and Senators have lost five allowances, including a Sh5 million car grant.

Taken together, the scrapped perks mean on average the monthly take home of an MP will reduce by at least Sh455,000 a month, a significant reduction for the 416 MPs.

Out of Sh8.8 billion savings resulting from the salary review for State Officers by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, MPs will surrender Sh3.7 billion.

Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) have also collectively lost the most (Sh3.8 billion) of the additional Sh4.8 billion savings to be realised from pay cuts for county officials.

However, given their huge number — there 2,222 MCAs — it means their individual pay cuts might be significantly lower than that of MPs.

Apart from having their pay reduced from Sh710,000 to Sh621,250 per month, MPs collectively lost their Sh2 billion car grant.

Other allowances that have been abolished are special parliamentary allowance, reimbursable mileage allowance, sitting allowance for plenary sessions and special responsibility allowances.

Reports show the range of these monthly allowances is as follows; special Parliamentary Allowance of Sh80,000 per month, a car grant of Sh83,000 and a responsibility allowance of Sh142,000, sitting allowance for plenary session of Sh150,000, all totaling to Sh455,000 pm.

Further the Members of the National Assembly, Senators and MCAs got a rude shock following the removal of claimable mileage allowances. This will now be calculated once and paid through the payroll.

However other benefits including medical scheme were not affected.

The proposed new pay structure for State officers excluded Chief Justice David Maraga’s pay following a dispute between the Judicial Service Commission and the SRC whose matter is in court.

In the recommended remuneration structure for State officers for the period 2017-2022, which was arrived at after a comprehensive job evaluation undertaken in 2013, the President has had his pay reduced from Sh1.6 million to Sh1.4 million, a reduction of Sh205,250.

The new pay implies that should President Uhuru Kenyatta win in this year’s election, he will start at a lower amount than what he was paid for the period 2013 to 2017.

Likewise, all incoming MPs, governors, MCAs, senators and women representatives will take a pay cut.

“The President’s work, like other elected leaders, is based on a five-year contract,” explained SRC Chairperson Sarah Serem.

In the new salary structure, there is no single State officer’s salary that was increased. The new salaries have been published in the Kenya Gazette, but it remains to be seen whether members of the next Parliament will abide by the reduced pay or will battle for a pay raise like the current members.

“The commission has made far-reaching review of remuneration and benefits for State officers. The Commission recommends the payment of a fixed salary structure guided by performance of the economy,” said Ms Serem yesterday when she released the new pay structure for State officers.

“It also recommends the implementation of midpoint pay of 2013-2017 salary structure and abolition of certain allowances and benefits.”

The decision was motivated by economic indicators related to the Government’s total revenue and expenditure.

There is also the need to reduce disparities in remuneration levels both vertically and horizontally, policy considerations and constitution principles including objectivity, impartiality, fairness, competitiveness, and public participation.

“Economic factors such as Gross Domestic Product, ordinary revenue, expenditure, and public service wage bill sustainability were considered in determination of remuneration,” said Serem.

SRC also carried out salary surveys in selected East African countries including Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda and in some countries overseas.

She said some of State officers are earning the maximum in their respective salary scales, notwithstanding the incremental salary structure set by the commission in 2013.

The review, to be carried out in a four-year circle, is based on a consolidated pay of which 60 per cent shall be used to compute retirement benefits.

In the new structure, the President will earn Sh1,443,750 and the deputy president Sh1,227,188 effective September 2017.

Cabinet secretaries, Secretary to the Cabinet Joshua Kinyua, Attorney General Githu Muigai and Chief of Defence Forces will earn Sh924,000 monthly.

Principal secretaries, Vice Chief of Defence Forces, Commander of Kenya Army, Director General of National Intelligence Service and Inspector General of National Police Service will draw a salary of Sh765,188.

The new salary for the Speaker of the Senate and Speaker of the National Assembly is Sh1,155,000. Their respective deputies will earn Sh924,000.

The Leader of Majority Party (The Senate), Leader of Majority Party (The National Assembly) and Leaders of Minority Party, The Senate and The National Assembly will earn Sh765,188.

Members of the Senate and The National Assembly will draw Sh621,250.

“The monthly gross remuneration package is fixed for the term of the Office of the Member of each House of Parliament,” Serem explained.

She abolished the controversial allowances that have been the root of contention.

Recommended threshold

“The savings accruing from the new salary structure will go a long way in ensuring that the public sector pay bill is reduced to the recommended threshold provided for by the Public Finance Management Act,” Ms Serem said.

In the proposed pay structure governors and deputy governors will take home Sh924,000 and Sh621,250 respectively.

Speaker of the County Assembly and Members of County Executive Committee will earn Sh259,875, while the Deputy Speaker of County Assembly will get Sh216,563.

Member of County Assembly, a position which has attracted the largest number of contestants in this year’s polls will earn 144,375... Sh20,625 less than what they earned between 2013 and 2017.

The new salary for the Auditor General, Chairperson- Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is Sh924,000.

However, the three current office holders Edward Ouko (AG), Ms Agnes Odhiambo (Controller of Budget) and IEBC’s Wafula Chebukati will continue to earn their previous pay.

“A serving State officer whose remuneration package was set by Salaries and Remuneration Commission and published in the Gazette Notice No. 2885 dated March 1, 2013 shall retain such remuneration package until the expiry of the current term of Office,” she explained.

The new salary for the Controller of Budget, IEBC vice chairperson, chairpersons of all other full time constitutional commissions, Director of Public Prosecutions and Members- IEBC will be Sh765,188.

The Registrar of Political Parties, vice chairperson of all other full time constitutional commissions and members of all other full time constitutional commissions will pocket Sh650,000.

The secretaries of full time constitutional commissions will earn Sh621,250 per month.