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MPs demand Sh3.3 billion for 'unserved' 8 months

By Wilfred Ayaga | February 8th 2017 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Treasury Cabinet secretary Henry Rotich. His ministry is under pressure from MPs to pay them Sh3.3 billion for the eight months that they will not be working after the August 8 polls. [PHOTO:FILE]

MPs are mounting pressure on Treasury to pay them Sh3.3 billion for eight months after the August 8 polls.

The pay being claimed is for the period between August 8, when the General Election will be held, and March 2018, when the MPs claim their five-year term ought to end, arguing that they were sworn in in March 2013.

Yesterday, top Treasury officials held a closed-door meeting with the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) and the Budget and Appropriations committee in the wake of the demands by the lawmakers.

Sources told The Standard that the MPs have threatened to shoot down the 2017/2018 budget if they are not paid the money, in addition to their gratuity payment amounting to Sh6.7 million for each member.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich bowed to pressure from the lawmakers and 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.

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The MPs are 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," said Mr Rotich after meeting the MPs at Parliament's County Hall.

He was however cagey on the exact details of the discussions in which members of the press were locked out.

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

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.

MPs currently earn Sh740,000 per month, in addition to a series of allowances that raises their pay in excess of Sh1 million-making them some of the highest paid in the world.

Should Treasury accede to the MPs demands, each MP will pocket a minimum of Sh6 million for the eight months they will not be working.

The meeting between PSC, Treasury and the Budget and Appropriations Committee was also attended by Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) Chair Sarah Serem, who, The Standard learnt is uncomfortable with the MPs' demands.

The Commission is opposed to the demands by MPs on grounds that it would amount to double payment for lawmakers who will make it back to Parliament for an additional term.

The move by MPs could also spark a public outcry at a time when the country is grappling with a ballooning public wage bill and demands from doctors and lecturers for more pay.

Although gratuity payment is provided for in law, there were reports that MPs are also pushing for a more favourable formula of calculating how much they should be paid.

Shakeel Shabbir (Kisumu East) said MPs' contract with the PSC is non-negotiable.

"Gratuity is in law. We have a contract with Kenyans for five years. We have a contract with our employer, the Parliamentary Service Commission. If the gratuity is not paid, we can even go to court to demand for the payment," said Shakeel Shabbir.

PSC, which takes care of MPs bread and butter issues is chaired by Speaker of the National Assembly, Justin Muturi.

Its other members are Jimmy Angwenyi (Kitutu Chache North) Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay), Adan Keynan (Eldas), Senator Beth Mugo (Nominated), Senator David Musila (Kitui), Sammy Leshore (Samburu), Regina Chengorok (West Pokot) and Senator Abdullahi Ali ( Wajir).

The lawmakers also accused Treasury of making decisions on budgets that have already been approved by House committees without consultations.

Among the budgets that have been cut is that of the ministries of Mining, Agriculture and Environment.

MPs parliamentary service commission national treasury
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