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Opinion & Analysis

EDITORIAL: MPs failed austerity test

Kamukunji MP Yussuf Hassan (left), Nairobi Woman rep Esther Passaris (centre) and Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo in Nairobi during the MPs’ induction retreat on September 20. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG
Kamukunji MP Yussuf Hassan (left), Nairobi Woman rep Esther Passaris (centre) and Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo in Nairobi during the MPs’ induction retreat on September 20. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG  

The zeal for spending taxpayers’ money shown by the 12th Parliament flies in the face of measures meant to tame public expenditure.

More than 200 MPs, who checked into a city hotel on Sunday for induction, were asked to invite their spouses for a gala night that would be the highlight of their stay at the five star facility at Wanjiku’s cost.

This against the fact that the Kenya Revenue Authority has been given the herculean task of raising Sh1.7 trillion in the 2017/2018 financial year to finance the a Sh2.6 trillion budget.

Yet a prolonged drought and political tension arising from an inconclusive presidential election has already slowed down economic activity and negated the prospect of the taxman meeting its target.

Travel out of the country by government officers has been restricted and so were the salaries and allowances of members of the National Assembly, which were cut by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.

These and other measures are what is needed to save that extra coin.

Why a session meant to appraise members on parliamentary procedures, house committee system, legislative budget oversight among other issues should be turned into a family affair, fails the cost-cutting initiative test.

It should be possible for the legislators to wine and dine with their better halves without raiding taxpayers.  

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