The average monthly sitting allowance paid to Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) increased to an average of Sh113, 336 in the year to June, with Garissa topping the list of high earners.
Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo says in her latest report that each MCA took home an average Sh113,336 per month in sitting allowances, a 9.7 per cent increase from the Sh103,583 earned in a similar period a year earlier.
MCA sitting allowance in Garissa, Homa Bay and Trans Nzoia counties surpassed the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) recommended monthly cap of Sh124,800.
“The County Assemblies that reported higher expenditure on sitting allowance than the SRC’s recommended monthly maximum are Garissa (Sh133,930), Homa Bay (Sh130,210) and Trans Nzoia (Sh124,930),” said Ms Odhiambo.
The three were followed by Murang’a (Sh121,543) and West Pokot (Sh118,400). During their first year in office which ended June 2014, the ward representatives earned an average Sh82,712 a month in sitting allowances.
That amount rose steadily in the subsequent years to cross the Sh100,000 mark. Vihiga MCAs earned the least sitting allowance with each taking home Sh21,521 a month. It was followed by Mandera (Sh36,237), Kajiado (Sh44,228), Wajir (Sh44,630) and Nairobi (Sh57,322).
Besides the hefty allowances, MCAs were entitled to a monthly salary of about Sh165,000 alongside mileage allowances. In July the SRC introduced a new pay structure starting September to 2022 that cut MCAs’ pay from Sh165,000 to Sh144,375 per month.
The commission substantially cut the sitting allowance and capped those of committees at 16 meetings per month at Sh3,000 each.
This means that MCAs will earn a maximum of Sh48,000 down from the previous cap of Sh124,800. The sitting allowance for the committee chairperson was capped at a maximum of Sh80,000.
The sitting allowance for MCAs in Embu, Kitui, Makueni and Nakuru counties surpassed budget allocations for the year to June, suggesting they cut other budget items to pay the perks.