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Economy

MPs lose sitting and mileage allowances

Salaries and Remuneration Commission chairperson Sarah Serem. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Salaries and Remuneration Commission chairperson Sarah Serem. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Members of Parliament and county assemblies have lost the hefty sitting and mileage allowances they have been earning — making them the biggest casualties of a new public service remuneration structure that is intended to save the taxpayers more than Sh8.85 billion annually.

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) said yesterday the 2017-22 pay structure, which replaces the current one, will come into effect with the inauguration of the 12th Parliament in September.

Some Sh5.19 billion, or 58.64 per cent of the total annual savings will come from removal of sitting and mileage allowances that Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) have been enjoying.

Under the new remuneration structure, sitting allowances for plenary sessions, mileage allowances, and special parliamentary and responsibility allowances for MPs have been scrapped.

MCAs have lost similar allowances, according to a special gazette notice dated July 7, 2017 and made public yesterday.

The abolition of sitting and mileage allowances for MCAs and MPs is expected to save the taxpayers Sh3.93 billion and Sh1.26 billion a year respectively.

SRC chairperson Sarah Serem said the new structure is benchmarked on what neighbouring countries, South Africa, India, Canada and the US pay holders of similar offices.



PHOTO | BD GRAPHIC
PHOTO | BD GRAPHIC

Chairpersons of committees in the 11th Parliament earned up to Sh10,000 per day or a maximum of Sh160,000 a month, vice-chairpersons Sh8,000 per day or a maximum of Sh128,000 a month, and committee members Sh5,000 daily or up to Sh80,000 a month under the current remuneration structure that is set to expire on August 8.

This was subject to attending meetings for a maximum of four days in a week.

Under the same terms, an MCA chairing a committee took home Sh5,000 per day or a  maximum of 80,000 per month, the vice-chairperson Sh4,000 or Sh64,000 a month. Committee members took home Sh3,000 per sitting or up to a maximum Sh48,000 per month.

MPs have also lost car grants, saving the taxpayers Sh2.08 billion.

Mrs Serem said governors and their deputies will no longer get the Sh80,000 and Sh64,000 monthly allowances they have been earning in the past four years.

“This was part of a bigger cry from all of the people that there is absolutely no reason why both the Senate and National Assembly members should earn a salary and at the same time draw sitting allowances for the plenary sessions. Otherwise, there will be many sitting, standing and walking allowances,” Mrs Serem said.

The SRC has, however, zoned transport allowances into five categories based on distance.

The new pay structure, which Mrs Serem said is the product of “wide consultations” and is anchored on a “comprehensive job evaluation”, has also significantly reduced the monthly salaries of senior State officers.



How Kenyan politicians salaries, as a factor of the country's GDP, compare with other countries. GRAPHIC | NMG
How Kenyan politicians salaries, as a factor of the country's GDP, compare with other countries. GRAPHIC | NMG

Serving state officers, whose remuneration packages were set in the current structure, published in March 2013, have been allowed to retain them until their current term expires.

The pay cuts have not spared the highest office in the land having reduced the President’s monthly salary to Sh1.443 million from Sh1.650 million and that of the Deputy President to Sh1.227 million from Sh1.402 million.

Speakers of the Senate and National Assembly will earn Sh1.155 million from Sh1.320 million while deputy speakers and governors will earn Sh924,000 a month from Sh1.056 million.

Cabinet Secretaries, the Attorney-General, the Chief of Defence Forces, the Auditor-General and the chairperson of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission will take home similar salaries.

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