Review spending to find money for village elders

Lawmakers at Parliament Buildings. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

Parliament has finally moved to address the thorny issue of whether thousands of village elders across the country who perform various duties from security to resolving disputes at the grassroots should be paid.

The village elders have been working as volunteers under the national governement after the scrapping of the provincial administration.

The National Government Coordination (Amendment) Bill is proposing a Sh3,000 allowance every month for each village elder, which will see taxpayers spend about Sh1 billion annually.

Data from the Interior ministry tabled before the National Assembly’s Budget and Appropriations Committee (BAC) show that there are 9,045 sub-locations in Kenya.

As legislators consider the new Bill, they must first determine the exact number of village elders Kenya has, and come up with their job description to ensure they do not duplicate functions being discharged by other State officers.

At least four different scenarios presented by the Budget office show that taxpayers will pay between Sh5 billion and Sh15 billion in the end.

There is also the cost of two sets of uniforms per village administrator, sitting allowances for village elders on the Village Council, recruitment expenses and operating expenses.

As noble as it is, MPs should start matching every expenditure with income. To this end, legislators should find the excess fat in government expenditure that should be cut off to pay the village elders.

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Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.