New MPs take fight for hefty allowances to SRC doorstepMonday November 07 2022
Parliament has summoned the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) chairperson Lyn Mengich over its decision to slash MPs’ local and foreign travel perks.
The Committee on Delegated Legislation said the House would nullify the gazette notice tabled at the tail end of the 12th Parliament.
The SRC tabled the legal notice on June 6, a day before Parliament went on indefinite recess to pave the way for the August 9 General Elections. Committee chairperson Samuel Chepkonga directed that Ms Mengich appears before the team on Thursday to explain why it failed to consult Parliament before slashing the travel allowances.
Read: MPs in talks with SRC over scrapped perks
Following the gazette notice, the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) moved to implement the SRC decision and slashed foreign and domestic travel per diem for MPs.
The PSC has since cut per diem for MPs who travel to the US to Sh79,091 from Sh143,999 per day, while those on trips to the UK now receive Sh92,674 from Sh133,181.
“We want Ms Mengich to appear before us on Thursday. This is a very serious issue because MPs are being deducted money when they travel abroad forcing them to seek cheaper and insecure accommodation than was the case before the decision to reduce the travel allowances,” said Mr Chepkonga.
Read: MPs' pay up Sh40,000 as meeting, travel perks cut
Dubai, Riyadh, Istanbul, Singapore, Geneva and New York were the top destinations for MPs in the five-year tenure of the 12th Parliament.
A Business Daily analysis of the travel destinations for committees of the 12th Parliament shows that legislators made numerous trips to these cities that attract the highest amounts in per diem
Under the new law, the National Assembly and Senate Speakers are now entitled to Sh141,715 down from Sh154,577 during assignments in Singapore and Sh121,402 down from Sh132,460 while in Switzerland.
The regulations dictate that the speakers, MPs, Clerk of the Senate and National Assembly and Job Group U-V are entitled to $523 (Sh62,760) while on trips to Afghanistan. The deputy clerks and those in Job Group P-R, are given $369 (Sh44,280) while the chief sergeant at arms will get $243 (29,160).
Staff travelling to the United Arab Emirates and in Job Group U-V will get $858 (Sh102,960).
The PSC in a circular issued on August 23, said the decision was reached following a Kenya Gazette notice by the SRC.
Gichugu MP Robert Gichimu who was elected the vice chairperson of the Committee on Delegated Legislation drew the attention of MPs to the SRC regulations saying they were not approved by Parliament.
“When we were campaigning, the SRC issued regulations that cut our travel perks. We urgently need to engage our minds and move to annul this legal notice because this committee never approved it,” he said.
Dima Dima, chief legal counsel at the National Assembly, said the SRC never tabled the gazette notice on per diems.
“The Statutory Instruments Act, 2013 require any regulation-making body to table the regulations within seven days after being published,” Mr Dima told the committee. He said the SRC Act requires the commission to table draft regulations for the House to approve before publishing them as legal notices.
“The regulations that Mr Gichimu has referred to were not tabled in line with Section 11 of the Statutory Instruments Act. It means that they ceased to have an effect and therefore they are a nullity,” Mr Dima told MPs.
Mr Chepkonga directed the committee clerks to table the contentious regulations before MPs tomorrow for scrutiny. Butere MP Tindi Mwale demanded that the legal notice be annulled this week so that MPs seeking to travel abroad get the original per diems.
The PSC’s new rates of daily subsistence allowances and local travel indicate that National Assembly members in Job Group U-V, including speakers, all MPs, and clerks of both Houses travel to Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Malindi, Kilifi, Lamu, Kwale and Naivasha will be entitled to Sh18,200.
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