Politics and policy
Omnibus Bill set for closer scrutiny over MPs’ gratuity
Posted Wednesday, December 19 2012 at 19:29
- Finance minister Njeru Githae and Prof Muigai had last week asked MPs to withdraw their demand for a higher winding up allowance to allow the passage of the Finance Bill. This was on the understanding that the change in their gratuity would be included in the omnibus Bill.
- The omnibus legislation contains numerous amendments to various statutes and it is the law that MPs usually use to sneak in their pay raise.
MPs are likely to renew their push for a fresh winding up allowance Thursday when they scrutinise the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendment) (number two) Bill that was approved without debate Wednesday.
Attorney-General Githu Muigai spent less than two minutes to initiate debate on the Bill which, however, did not contain proposals for the increased send-off package as was expected.
Finance minister Njeru Githae and Prof Muigai had last week asked MPs to withdraw their demand for a higher winding up allowance to allow the passage of the Finance Bill. This was on the understanding that the change in their gratuity would be included in the omnibus Bill.
Parliamentary Service Commission vice-chairman Adan Keynan, who introduced the amendment to the Finance Bill which would have seen the 224 MPs take home a total of Sh2.1 billion in severance allowance refused to comment on the matter.
“Wait until you see what the government will table in the form of retirement package for the President, the Prime Minister, Vice President and two deputy Prime Ministers,” he said, hinting that the MPs could ride on the Presidential Retirement Benefits Act, 2003, to push through their demand.
The omnibus legislation contains numerous amendments to various statutes and it is the law that MPs usually use to sneak in their pay raise.
Last week, Mr Githae secured MPs’ nod to pass the Finance Bill, 2012 after the legislators agreed to delete clause 28 that would have seen each of the 224 MPs, Speaker Kenneth Marende and the Attorney General take home Sh9.3 million in winding up package when their term ends on January 15, 2013.
President Kibaki rejected to assent to the Bill saying the Sh2.1 billion MPs sneaked into the proposed law was “unconstitutional and untenable given the prevailing economic circumstances.”
“Certain discussions are going on and they will be finalised by next week (this week). We will communicate to you accordingly,” Mr Githae told MPs to secure the passage of the President memorandum.
Prof Muigai had equally asked MPs to be patient as he prepared to introduce the Statute Law Bill this week.
Efforts to reach Mr Githae to comment on the MPs send-off pay were fruitless as his mobile phone was switched off.
Other MPs who have vowed to push for the package said it was up to the Treasury to provide the way forward. Mr Keynan had introduced amendments to the National Assembly Remuneration Act to peg MPs severance pay at the rate of 31 per cent of the gross remuneration (Sh850,000) payable to each MP every month.
Last year, the MPs amended the Finance Bill, 2011 to increase the winding up allowance from Sh1.5 million to Sh3.3 million each.
The Treasury is seeking to raise an additional Sh40 billion through the yet to be assented to Finance Bill to meet the salaries of teachers, lecturers and health workers negotiated in October following a string of nationwide strikes.