It is on rare occasions that the Controller of Budget’s report bears good news on public expenditure. Often, it is a depressing read on uncontrolled or unexplained spending of public funds, wanton wastage of resources and in some cases outright theft of funds.
In the latest report, however, the sitting allowances for Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) dropped 67 per cent in the first half of the year, saving taxpayers nearly Sh900 million. This is also the first time since the advent of devolution that MCAs’ perks dropped below the Sh1 billion mark.
The drop is linked to the extended electioneering period when the ward representatives were not in session. The reduction is also in large part a product of the set of measures that the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) put in place. Last July, the commission abolished MCAs’ mileage reimbursements, sitting allowances for the plenary sessions and special responsibility perks.
These reforms, which also drove down MPs’ allowances by Sh1 billion during the period, have not only paid substantial dividends, but have served to illustrate that the goal of taming the spiralling wage bill is not beyond our grasp.
It is also a pointer to the fact that SRC and other State institutions can deliver on their mandate with political backing.The SRC needs now to be more aggressive in slashing or eliminating altogether needless perks of other elected leaders and bureaucrats.