Economy

MPs flex their muscles on Sh100,000 pay for life Bill

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The National Assembly. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • President Kenyatta rejected to sign into law the Parliamentary Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which sought to increase the minimum monthly pension for lawmakers who served between July 1, 1984, and January 1, 2001.
  • The Finance and National Planning Committee in its report to the House after considering the memorandum wants it shot down.

The National Assembly faces an uphill task of raising a supermajority to overturn President Uhuru Kenyatta’s memorandum that rejected an enhancement of former MPs’ monthly pension following the recommendations of its committee.

At least two-thirds majority or 233 of the 349 MPs in the National Assembly are required to veto the President's memorandum, a feat that is yet to be achieved by the House since the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution.

Mr Kenyatta rejected to sign into law the Parliamentary Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which sought to increase the minimum monthly pension for lawmakers who served between July 1, 1984, and January 1, 2001.

The Finance and National Planning Committee in its report to the House after considering the memorandum wants it shot down in the looming showdown.

The Bill, sponsored by the leader of the minority in the National Assembly John Mbadi (Suba South) and approved by the MPs in August, would have seen the more than 375 former lawmakers' monthly pension rise to above Sh100,000 from the current Sh33,000.

President Kenyatta, however, declined to sign the Bill into law, arguing that it would add an unwarranted Sh444 million annual tax burden on taxpayers.

In the memorandum, the President also argued that the Bill overlooks the mandate of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), which includes setting and reviewing of remuneration and benefits for all State officers among them the MPs.

The SRC had petitioned President Kenyatta to reject the Bill terming it illegal because MPs didn’t seek its input on the planned changes.

But in a bid to flex its muscle, the committee dismissed the President’s reasoning noting that inflation and high cost of living make it impossible for the former MPs to survive on the pensions they are earning.

“The committee having considered the President’s reservations on the Bill recommends that the House agrees with its decision to reject the President’s memorandum,” its report reads.