MPs’ allowances, travel hit in deep budget cuts

Parliament says budget cuts will affect its legislative role. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Parliament says budget cuts will affect its legislative role. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

MPs’ office rent, committee allowances and legislators travel have been hit hard by Treasury’s Sh9.9 billion cut of Parliament’s budget in what the lawmakers’ employers warns will halt House business.

The Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) has opposed the Treasury’s massive cuts on the House spending and asked a special committee reviewing the supplementary budget to reject it in total.

The Treasury has reduced the annual budget for Parliament from Sh21.2 billion to Sh17.4 billion to save money for a fresh presidential election, drought and enhanced free secondary education among others.

“This will impact domestic and foreign travel, committee services, printing and advertisement the latter largely going for public participation. This will cripple House business and is as good as telling us to close shop and go home for the next nine months,” Jeremiah Nyegenye, the secretary to the PSC told the special committee.

“The areas targeted by the Treasury are a no-go zone for us because it affects the core mandate of the Legislature. It is difficult for us to identify a single area for cuts,” he added.

MPs consumed Sh4.9 billion for foreign and domestic travel in the nine months to March.  PSC has set aside Sh418 million to offset rent for MPs who have no offices within Parliament.

Treasury cut Parliament’s development budget under general administration and support services from Sh2.4 billion to Sh737.5 million.

Mr Nyegenye said an ongoing 26-storey office block for MPs will stall after the Treasury cut development budget to Sh500 million, an amount that is not enough to cover the current pending bills for the project which stands at slightly over Sh617 million. The office block is being built at Sh5.6 billion.

“If the supplementary budget is passed, the PSC will not have any option but to fall into breach of contract  for non-payment of sums due to the contractor and shall furthermore have to ask the contractor to stop any further works until adequate budgetary provisions is made in the project,” Mr Sialai said.