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Economy

Ouko team wants MPs’ pay cut to below Sh1m

Auditor-General Edward Ouko (right) hands the Constitution audit report to Budget committee chairman Mutava Musyimi. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE
Auditor-General Edward Ouko (right) hands the Constitution audit report to Budget committee chairman Mutava Musyimi. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE 

A committee established to audit the Constitution has proposed the number of MPs be cut by a third and State officers allowances capped at 40 per cent of gross pay to reduce the cost of legislation.

The working group led by Auditor-General Edward Ouko said that Kenya needs 290 MPs and not 416 in line with the global citizen’s representation quotas.

It added that the allowances earned by MPs and other State officers mostly exceed the basic pay and should be capped at 40 per cent to ease pressure on the wage bill.

“The SRC [Salaries and Remuneration Commission] should develop guidelines for Parliament to follow to ensure that no more than 40 per cent of present gross pay for MPs, MCAs and other State officers shall constitute allowances,” the committee said in its final report released Thursday.

“Put together, the cost of running a bicameral Parliament, the overrepresentation of Kenyans and the exorbitant allowances paid to Kenyan MPs are contributing to the rising wage bill.”

Capping MPs’ allowances at 40 per cent of gross pay would see their total monthly take-home drop below Sh1 million from the current over Sh1.5 million.

The basic pay for the legislators currently stands at Sh558,750. With this basic pay considered as 60 per cent and allowances capped at 40 per cent, the total pay for MPs would be Sh931,000.

Kenyan MPs earn basic salary and a raft of benefits and allowances, including sitting, accommodation and subsistence, security and mileage.

They are also entitled to medical scheme, retirement benefits and special duty allowance for those with extra responsibilities.

Mr Ouko’s team said that in the year ending June 2015, the country was spending on average Sh55 million per member, adding that the cost of running Kenya’s Parliament is nearly four times the global average.

“In terms of cost, the budget for Parliament is about two per cent of the national budget against a global average of 0.57 per cent (for countries with population of 10-50 million),” the report says.

“Kenya’s previous unicameral Parliament’s budget (Sh10 billion in 2011/12) was 0.88 per cent as a share of the national budget.”

The team notes that besides the increase in the pay for legislators, the shift from the unicameral 222 MPs to 416 currently (National Assembly and Senate) is exerting a lot of budgetary pressure.

Set up in August 2014, the team was tasked with finding out the weaknesses and inconsistencies in the supreme law endorsed in August 2010.

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