MPs reject proposal to have two vice chairpersons for committees


Parliament in session. FILE PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

The new parliamentary committees will have one Vice-Chairperson after a proposal to create a second position was defeated on the floor of the House.

The changes to the National Assembly Standing Orders, however, increased the number of committees from 34 to 41 setting the stage for an increase in the monthly sitting allowances at a time when the country is looking for avenues to cut down on allowances.

Each of the 349 outgoing members of the National Assembly earned Sh5,000 per sitting while committee chairs received Sh15,000, taking the lawmakers’ monthly take home to more than Sh1 million.

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) in a gazette notice issued in July retained committee sitting allowances but scrapped the Sh5,000 plenary sitting allowances in what it said will save taxpayers over one billion shillings yearly.

The SRC increased committee sitting allowance to Sh7,500 per sitting up from Sh5,000 that the outgoing lawmakers earned in the 12th Parliament. The commission, which is mandated to set and review the remuneration and benefits for State and public officers, set sitting allowances for chairpersons of committees at Sh15,000 per sitting up to a maximum of Sh240,000 per month.

Vice-chairpersons of committees will take home Sh12,000 per sitting or a maximum of Sh192,000 per month.

Ordinary members of committees are paid Sh7,500 per sitting or a maximum of Sh120,000 per month.

On top of the Sh710,000 gross monthly salary, MPs who hold leadership positions in the Senate and the National Assembly are also entitled to a special parliamentary duty allowance.

“A special parliamentary duty allowance shall be paid up to a maximum of Sh150,000 per month to State officers in the Senate and National Assembly, whose duties involve added parliamentary leadership over and above the duties stipulated in one’s terms of service for which a regular salary is paid,” the SRC notice states.

The Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) is mandated to apportion the rate of special parliamentary duty allowance, up to a maximum of Sh150,000 per month, to each of the designated State officers with leadership duties in Parliament, based on seniority as provided by the Constitution, legislation or Standing Orders.

The former Parliament defeated a proposed amendment to Standing Order 188 that was intended to introduce the position of a second vice chairperson of Select Committees.

“While such proposal was made in the Standing Orders, the proposal was defeated on the floor of the House,” the national assembly said in a tweet in response to this article.

The Business Daily had erroneously reported that the House had approved the proposal to create a second position of Vice Chairperson of committees.

The amendments to the Standing Orders which will take effect at the beginning of the 13th Parliament is set to be sworn in next week, bar the vice chairpersons of committees from being eligible to stand for election as chairperson or vice chairperson of another committee.

The outgoing MPs also created seven new committees, a move that will see the number of committees rise to 41 from 34.